Saratoga Springs, New York – The Saratoga Automobile Museum will honor legendary race car driver John Fitch as part of its Saturday, May 16 Drive for Excellence dinner, which will close out the first annual Spring Invitational auto show for concours quality automobiles. The Invitational, to be held on the museum grounds, will precede Sunday’s traditional May car show.
As part of the Drive for Excellence tribute, the Museum has commissioned an original artwork entitled “Gullwing! Qué bella macchina!” by Swiss automotive artist Nicolas Hunziker. The striking piece features Fitch’s legendary Mille Miglia Mercedes-Benz race car.
“There’s a special relationship between the artist and his subject matter. It’s similar to the relationship between the viewer and a painting,” said Hunziker from his West Coast studio. “One cannot co-exist without the other. They each fuel each other. His achievement fueled mine and I feel very blessed to be in a position to honor him with my art.”
Richard Selikoff, the Saratoga Automobile Museum’s Director of Development, explained the Museum’s role in this artistic endeavor. “This artistic collaboration with Nic is a unique way for the Saratoga Automobile Museum to pay tribute to John and all the legends of racing that have made their way into our hearts and history, and it caps the first half of a great weekend that celebrates everything automotive.”
Interested collectors can get more information about bidding on the original artwork by calling Richard Selikoff at the Museum at (518) 587-1935 x 26.
About Artist Nicolas Hunziker
“Just like there are lawyer, carpenter or firefighter families, where the family trade is being handed down from one generation to the next; our family’s trade was passed along to me: Creativity.” explained Hunziker. “We all have a little paint in our blood. My great-grandfather and my grandfather were classically trained painters. My grandfather’s twin brother, my grand-uncle, was a painter as well. My father, a professional flautist, now devotes much of his time to his paintings and his collages. This makes me the 4th generation to pick up the family trade.
“After graduating with Honors from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, where I studied Advertising Art, I went to work as an Advertising Art Director. I created, wrote and directed numerous TV commercials and print ads for various advertising agencies and their clients. I’ve shot commercials in L.A., New York, Vancouver, Sydney and even Tibet; after all this I still came back to painting.
“In the 1930s, my grandfather, Gerold Hunziker (1894-1980) worked as an Advertising Illustrator for Bally, the Swiss shoe company. While at Bally, my grandfather created many advertising posters but also found the time for commissioned projects such as a poster for the Olympic Games or the now famous Bugatti poster from 1932.
“Although intended as a communication tool, advertising posters from the Art Deco era have turned into objects of art themselves. With my paintings, I try to carry on my grandfather’s legacy and I think that some of my grandfather’s influence is visible in my work. At the same time I feel that I have found my very own style: Period Correct Art.
“If the source of my creative genes is easy to pinpoint, the source of my passion for racing cars is just as easily located: My grand-uncle, Prince Bira. His full name was Prince Birabongse Bhanutej Bhanubandh of Siam. He was a member of Siam’s Royal Family and was a grandson of King Mongkut (who was made famous by the musical comedy “The King and I”). Prince Bira became the first Thai Grand-Prix motor racing driver to race for Maserati, Connaught and Gordini, among others.
“Taking into account my family history, I think it was inevitable that I would end up racing and painting racing cars.”