Ralph Lauren brings his Ferraris and Benzes to the Musée d’Arts Decoratif

Art Of Auto Type

Beautiful typography over the entrance way.

As if the Louvre wasn’t big enough on its own, within the building there’s another completely separate museum, the Musée d’Arts Decoratif. The entrance is right off Rue Rivoli, and really, it’s not to be missed. They always have at least one interesting show that’s worth seeing. It must be tough being a museum director in Paris – put on something less than spectacular and you’ll be totally ignored – there’s just too much competition.

Ralph's Cars

Beautiful building, incredible cars.

Before we left for Paris, I knew that a large part of Ralph Lauren’s car collection would be at the museum for a special show. Normally, he keeps them in a discreet Connecticut “garage”. I’d seen it featured in Vanity Fair magazine.

Some of Ralph's Ferraris

Is that not the perfect colour red?

In general, I’m not a “car nut”, but this collection is so extraordinary, of such high calibre and refinement that I knew it would be worth my time. Many of them were extremely limited editions, one of thirty made, one of ten, and so on.

We got there at opening time. It wasn’t busy. But right away I noticed the “no photography” signs. I find museums and galleries strange in their attitudes towards photography. I can understand the “no flash” rule – flash annoys other patrons, and for some pieces of art especially those on paper, it could degrade them after a time.

Ferraris, Porsche, Jag

That silver Porsche is the same model that took James Dean's life. Isn't that a handsome Jaguar at the top.... if you can take your eyes off the Ferraris.

So, consider this: you can take pictures anywhere in the Louvre, but not Musée D’Arts Decoratif which is technically in the Louvre. No pictures in the Musée d’Orsay, but it’s OK in the Musée Rodin. Yes in Jeu de Paume and Orangerie, yes in Musée d’Arts Moderne. (No in the Art Gallery of Ontario, by the way). I don’t get it.

1930 Mercedes Benz SSK roadster

Imagine pulling up anywhere in this 1930 Mercedes Benz SSK roadster. The drive-through at the burger joint....

So, it was a challenge. Looking up, I saw that you could see the cars from the upper floors.

So after looking at the Ferraris, Benzes, the Maclaren, the Bugatti and others, I found the stairs and found a few vantage points.

Ralph's Cars

What would you wear if you were in that red one on the right?

They look like little dinky toys, but you can appreciate the shapes from above.

I found it especially interesting to see this show in France. An American with a collection that consists mostly of Italian and German cars in a prestigious Parisian museum. Nice!

Pure style

Pure style

Go to the Ralph Lauren site for these cars. For all you car nerds, you can hear recordings of the car engines too!

See the slide show of Ralph Lauren’s cars on the Vanity Fair site.

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