DE­SIGN FOR AN ES­SAY ON PRE­CI­SION­ISM

American Fine Art Magazine - - My View -

I heard my fa­ther’s voice when I saw that “cof­fin nose” on the im­age of the Cord 812 Phaeton con­vert­ible in the cat­a­log for Cult of the Ma­chine: Pre­ci­sion­ism and Amer­i­can Art, the ex­hi­bi­tion open­ing at the de Young Mu­seum in San Fran­cisco. Dur­ing the De­pres­sion, one of his many jobs was as a sales­man for the Auburn Cord Due­sen­berg deal­er­ship in Mil­wau­kee. It came just af­ter his stint run­ning boot­leg liquor—very quickly, in a souped up Model A—be­tween Mil­wau­kee and Grand Junc­tion, Ne­braska (a tale for an­other time). Did he sell a Cord? Let him tell it. “Who in hell’s bells was go­ing to buy a Cord in the mid­dle of a De­pres­sion? They were too pricey, even for the well-to-do who still had money.” For fun, out of bore­dom, he put them through their paces along Mil­wau­kee’s Lake Drive. Not many Cords were made; fewer were sold.yet Gor­don Buehrig’s de­sign was vi­sion­ary, is leg­endary, and the Cord was the car of choice among those of us who spent grades 5 through 8 draw­ing cars dur­ing film­strips about the Hoover Dam.

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