The DS was launched at Le Grand Palais Paris motor show in October 1955.
On its 60th birthday, the CitroŽn DS, as a 20th century design icon, deserved a sculpture.
Following a Swiss art gallery
initiative, in association with CitroŽn, Benoit de Clercq was
commissioned to create this work.
The original sculpture is kept in CitroŽn Heritage Museum.
It is the sole sculpture produced officially under licence from CitroŽn.
Each copy is signed, and numbered and is made out of finely polished resin.
It is close to one foot long, 30 cm, and weighs around 1.15 kilo.
An interview with the artist:
Who is Benoit de Clercq?
I was born in 1955, in Paris, during the Paris motor show week where the then very new CitroŽn, the futuristic DS was presented!
Unfortunately, although I was only few hundred meters from Le Grand Palais exhibit centre, my father, a real CitroŽn enthusiast, thought I was really too young on that day to look at the new marvel…
My family had no link with the field of mechanics, with the great exception of a distant uncle, Henri Chapron, well known to CitroŽn enthusiasts.
Unfortunately, being then too young, I never had the luck to meet him, something that I regret to this day. My life would probably have been different.
When I was fourteen, I was already spending complete days in
the paddock of Montlhťry circuit , near Paris, or in Le Bourget
airfield, which were paradises that were easy to reach on my
At the age of twenty, after technical studies in the French car manufacturers union School, I opened a Triumph and Norton motorcycles workshop, and quickly began to modify these motorcycles for races, as the Bol d'Or or the 24 hours of Le Mans.
The same year, I also became a technical journalist.
One day, when I brought to an Italian industrial foundry workshop a pattern of a technical item, sculptured in wood as was then the practice, the foundry man told me: "Sir, with the care and attention you pay to detail, and with such a finish, you should make art sculptures instead of mechanical parts"
I listened to him, and from that day, my creations were
divided between art and technique!
You also built cars?
In the nineteen eighties and nineties I built classic roadsters under the brand name DE CLERCQ, the P47.
To create my own automobile company was a dream which I was lucky to realise, even if it was at a very modest level.
I have always dreamed of relaunching and developing this activity by including certain modern techniques, but regrettably, as time goes by, administrative constraints become harder, especially those related to the environment which makes compliance far too expensive for a modest craftsman!
Unfortunatley we live in a Europe where small manufacturers,
who brought touches of originality and dreams to the world of the
automobile are unable to operate.
An art gallery in Switzerland was already showing my aluminium car sculptures. When the owner desired to create a work on the DS, it was quite natural that he should ask me.
I was fascinated by this order as the DS is a car which I particularly like. As you already know that car was almost my twin sister !
My father, who drove only CitroŽns, bought his first DS in 1956, and from that date drove only DS (or ID) up to the coming of the CX. I thus knew all the DS models, in saloon, and break form when the family became more numerous. I spent all my holidays travelling in DS, was familiar with all the hydraulic breakdowns, and the first car which I drove, in secret, was my father DS!
I advised my customer to contact CitroŽn Heritage, because the rights of the DS belong of course to CitroŽn.
I was inspired by the clay models of Flaminio Bertoni, the brilliant CitroŽn designer in the fifties, and by the “car without wheels” which was displayed at shows and catalogues, to demonstrate the superb aerodynamics and "flying saucer" look of this totally futuristic car.
I wanted to retain the essential lines that characterise this car. It is a delicate work of balance, because it is necessary to eliminate numerous details while keeping the originality of the line.
I used, as usual, some wood and some plaster for my original shape, from which I made a first moulding . This prototype was presented to the CitroŽn Heritage manager, who was immediately enthusiastic. Numerous projects had been submitted to CitroŽn in previous years and it was the first time they had accepted one. This was a very gratifying reward for my work. They asked me simply to modify the shape of the base because I had used the 1936 logo and they preferred that I use the shape of the 1959 logo, which was better related to the DS. This choice was indeed more sensible and more balanced.
Tell us about the choice of colours of this sculpture:
This sculpture is made of very high quality tinted resin. This technique affords a perfect finish, smoother, softer and more brilliant than paint.
The texture looks like polished marble which is perfect for a sculpture.
This technique imposes constraints because the choice of colours is limited and obtaining the colors is was not easy. I wished to use pastel colours which are representative of the fifties. I therefore selected five colours, pale green, pale blue, light yellow, pale grey and beige Champagne.
CitroŽn has authorised a run of 200 copies.
It is the quantity which we chose together as a result of my experience of the many diverse aluminium models that I have created over the years. It is a very limited edition especially so since there are so many CitroŽn enthusiasts in the world. Furthermore, its rarity enhances the value of this artistic work.
My previous works have achieved good prices in auctions sales
both by virtue of the workmanship and rarity and I did not want to
exceed this quantity. This work of sculpture, moulding and polishing is
completely manual, performed by me personally and is in no way an
industrial process. I made a series of six copies by colour, which are
available immediately. If a colour is runs out, there will be a small
delay but no longer than fifteen days. The members of your club may
contact me and I shall happily provide them with all these details.
Secure payment is available on my website by credit card, or directly by bank transfer.
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