The world of Robert Mittenmaier
Every automobile has a story to tell. Automobiles are much more than a means of transportation, they are mobile sculptures that chronicle and dramatize the time and place which they occupy.
Robert Mittenmaier, an explosive American talent, is a master at capturing every aspect of a scene. Not only does he depict the automobile in explicit detail, but he imbues every one of his works with a feel for the time and atmosphere in which it was done.
Robert’s early work featured the American race car, but today he focuses almost exclusively on Ferraris. One of his most famous and intricate Ferrari pieces is the series of “Chinetti Impressions.” The “Impressions” get their name from Luigi Chinetti, Sr., who was the major force behind bringing Ferraris into the U.S. from the late 1940s to the late 1970s.
“I’ve used original New York backgrounds as settings as they give the perfect atmosphere and play of light and shade, which act as a foil for the older sculptural Ferraris.”
— Robert Mittenmaier
The Chinetti Impressions consist of 12 paintings of Ferraris in front of Chinetti Motors, in various places and times. Each of the paintings depict a different side of New York, and they are like a map to the divergent feelings and atmospheres inherent in every big city.
Robert Mittenmaier’s unique blending of artistic talent and historical background make him one of the most innovative and important automotive artists working today, so it seems only fitting that he was most influenced by one of the greats of yesterday, Peter Helck.
“… a mood that’s almost haunting.”
Mr. Helck stated that “Robert is a refreshing new talent,” and upon seeing the Chinetti Impressions, he said, “The Ferrari emerging from the shadowy depths of Chinetti’s shows a mood that’s almost haunting.”
Piloti, Che Gente…
Yet another distinction, one that Robert claims “is my biggest artistic honor,” occurred when one of his paintings was used in Enzo Ferrari’s book Piloti, Che Gente (Drivers that Race).
First published in 1983 (with many subsequent versions), Piloti, Che Gente is Enzo’s personal assessment of each of the Grand Prix drivers who drove for Ferrari.
“… my biggest artistic honor.”
In 1984, a painting by Robert Mittenmaier, Nuvolari Mille Miglia 1948, was published in edition number 23 of Cavallino magazine. The magazine and picture came to Enzo Ferrari’s attention, who asked his assistant Franco Gozzi to obtain the painting for his book.
Although the original painting had already been sold, a high quality image was available (see below) and sent to Mr. Gozzi. To everyone’s great pleasure, the stunning picture was included in the next edition of Enzo Ferrari’s book.
The Art and the Myth
In 1998, Robert Mittenmaier was invited by Enzo Ferrari’s son Piero, to contribute a painting to be shown at an event called L’Arte e il Mito (The Art and the Myth). The affair celebrated the 100-year anniversary of Enzo Ferrari’s birth and was held at Montecuccoli Palace in Modena, Italy. Over 100 artists were represented, but Robert and his wife were the only Americans present as guests of Dr. Franco Gozzi. An amazing honor!
Spirit of Ferrari
The original anniversary artwork submitted by the artist was titled “Spirit of Ferrari.” It shows Enzo Ferrari and Fron Gonzales discussing a race at the factory gate. The painting measures 70 cm high by 70 cm wide and was painted with acrylic on Masonite.
Click any image below for larger view
Enzo Ferrari 1898 – 1988
Enzo Ferrari was an Italian automobile manufacturer, designer, and racing-car driver whose Ferrari cars often dominated world racing competition in the second half of the 20th century. Ferrari raced test cars for a small automobile company in Milan after World War I. In 1920 he became a racing-car driver for the Alfa Romeo Company, and in 1929 he formed a racing stable, Scuderia Ferrari, which remained Alfa Romeo’s official racing team even after Ferrari himself ceased to drive in races in 1932. Learn more