AMELIA ISLAND, Fla. – Feb. 25, 2010 – Charles Maher of the Automotive Fine Arts Society will unveil three stunning new paintings during the 2010 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance on March 11-14, 2010, in Amelia Island, Fla. Maher will feature the iconic Porsche 917, as well two pieces celebrating Concours Grand Marshal Sir Stirling Moss in a Maserati Birdcage. The paintings will be part of the 15th annual AFAS Amelia Island Concours art show sponsored by Mazda North America.
From 1969 to 1971, the 917 became one of the most iconic sports racing cars of all time with its high speeds and huge power. Steve McQueen even piloted one in his 1971 film “Le Mans.” The race cars will be honored with a panel of 917 drivers moderated by Tim Considine and Sam Posey during the Concours weekend, as well as a display of the fierce flat 12 cylinder vehicle.
In each of his 15” x 20” originals, Maher celebrates the conquering race car in a series similar to the Trans Am pieces he debuted at Amelia Island in 2008. Seven of the historic cars, both coupes and roadsters, are depicted in authentic racing liveries at speed. A single 48” x 12” print will include all of the 917 images on one piece.
“I remember watching the Porsche 917 dominate racing during the early 1970s,” said Maher. “The cars were so advanced and blinding fast that Porsche went from being the ‘David’ to truly a ‘Goliath’ in sports car endurance racing. Concours Chairman Bill Warner suggested that I create this series of pieces after he viewed my Trans Am works two years ago. It was a lot of fun creating a couple pieces that honor the company’s accomplishments during the golden age of sports car racing.”
In addition to his stunning 917 series, Maher will debut two pieces honoring Stirling Moss. One of the works stars Moss in a Maserati Tipo 61 “Birdcage” racecar at the 1960 Cuban Grand Prix.
“As a Moss fan, I’ve been contemplating this piece for quite some time,” noted Maher. “When I learned he would be reunited with this wonderful Maserati at the Amelia Island Concours, the time was perfect to commemorate the man and machine that dominated the Cuban Grand Prix 50 years ago. It’s a wonderful opportunity to celebrate his achievements through art.”
In 1960, Moss drove the Tipo 61 Maserati to victory; he led all 50 laps and set the fastest lap of the 250.4 kilometer Cuban Grand Prix. Along the way, Moss defeated an international field that included World Champion Jack Brabham, Indy 500 winner Rodger Ward and Le Mans winner Maurice Trintignant.
“Researching a project is critical,” added Maher. “With Moss planning to be at the Concours, I knew that I had to nail the details. Often I spend as much time learning about my subject as I do creating the painting.”
Armed with original period photos, magazine articles and written accounts, Maher set about to sketch the piece. Entitled “The Dominance of Sir Stirling,” he worked the angles several times to get the most flattering, and yet realistic perspective of the Italian racecar and pilot.
Maher typically works on more than one piece at a time, which allows him to finish works in stages and make critical changes with fresh eyes. Once a painting is complete, a final coat is applied to protect the piece and it’s framed. Maher, a hobbyist carpenter, sometimes also creates the frames.
“Each painting is a personal challenge to connect with the audience,” notes Maher. “I love to bend light and color to stir emotion in the public. I hope that those attending the Amelia Island Concours find the piece as compelling to view as it was to create.”
Maher has been an independent artist since 1988. His work has been displayed at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, Greenwich Concours d’Elegance, Concours d’Elegance at Ault Park in Cincinnati, the Concours at Cranbrook and the Eyes on Design Exhibition in Grosse Pointe, Mich.
In 2008, Maher was commissioned to create the Woodward Avenue Dream Cruise poster art for the 10th year by the city of Ferndale, Mich. He was also selected as the poster artist for the 2007 Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction in Scottsdale, Ariz., and was commissioned to create the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance poster artwork in 2008. His studio is located in Bloomfield Hills, Mich.