Automotive artist Carlo Demand led a dramatic life.
During his 79 years, this brilliant Frankfurt-born talent attended the first races at the Nürburgring, served in both the German and Allied forces during WW2, and had his work featured in magazines as diverse as Der Spiegel and Playboy.
Inspired by Austrian artists Hans Liska and Theo Matejko, Demand displayed a talent for drawing from the age of three.
He was born in 1920 to a German mother and a French father.
An uncle regularly took young Carlo to air displays and race meetings during the ’30s.
Aged 16, Demand enrolled at the Städelschule academy of art and was soon getting published in local papers.
Just as interest for his work took off, Demand’s early career was disrupted by enlistment.
Starting with the German army, he first saw service in Poland before switching to the French Army due to his Alsatian descent and French father.
Throughout the war he kept a sketchbook, and that experience gave an authenticity to his evocative military drawings.
Post-war, Demand joined an ad agency in Frankfurt, but the American forces were impressed by his style and persuaded him to join the US Army Recreation Service.
Demand continued to do freelance work, with diverse clients including Texaco, Wrigley, Fortune 500, Zeiss and even covers for Mad.
In 1951 he became an American citizen, but he didn’t move to the USA until 1991.
Demand is best known for his dramatic book illustrations and, as well as motor racing, his work across 11 titles covered trucks, motorcycles, aircraft, tanks, airships and speedboats.
In 1955, German publisher Nest Verlag commissioned 128 charcoal drawings to illustrate Das Grosse Rennen, a history of motor racing by Ernst Rosemann.
Demand’s monochrome style captured the drama of famous racing moments, from the early Gordon Bennett races to the 1955 Mille Miglia.
Translated into English as The Big Race, the book became a top seller in the UK and America.
Demand’s bold style also featured on race posters, including the AvD Oldtimer-Grand Prix at the Nürburgring.
After moving to America in the 1990s, Demand became a founding member of the Automotive Fine Arts Society and regularly exhibited at Pebble Beach.
Demand worked in a range of media, but his pencil-and-charcoal drawings best demonstrate his mastery of action and figure work.
His compositions have a cinematic quality that harks back to his early love of film, particularly the Tom Mix cowboy classics he adored as a boy.
Few could bring to life the tension of racing as masterfully as Demand.
Be it the lead dice between Mercedes teammates Caracciola and von Brauchitsch during the 1937 Monaco Grand Prix, or the close call when Hans Herrmann and co-driver Herbert Linge dived down in the cockpit of their Porsche 550 Spyder as they flashed under the fast-closing barrier of a level crossing on the ’54 Mille Miglia, his vivid drawings engrossed all ages.
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