Hood Ornaments are Works of Art

Winged Man Hood OrnamentHood ornaments of the early twentieth century qualify as art, rather than industrial design. A plain radiator cap, even chromed or scalloped, is an industrial design. Its shape has a purpose and function. However, this is not so with hood ornaments. Their sole purpose was ornamentation. They serve no function to an automobile, other than to make it more aesthetically pleasing. They add style, class, grace and beauty, but if you remove them, the car still operates.

One only need to seek out the many thousand of designs that appeared during the forty year golden age of hood ornaments (1915 to 1955) to realize this. Look at the beautiful ornaments that adorned the Duesenbergs, Bugatties, Cords, and Rolls-Royces of the past. And even the more common motorcars like the Chryslers, Cadillacs, DeSotos, Chevrolets and Fords sported the likenesses of Greek Gods and Goddesses, graceful birds, and elegant animals of all descriptions. All of which gives testimony to the validity of hood ornament design as an art form.

Boy Hood OrnamentsWinged God Hood OrnamentsHorseman hood ornamentsBoy Hood OrnamentsWoman with Torch Hood ornaments

Furthermore, the original design was often the work of a skilled artist, commissioned by a particular automobile manufacturer to create a hood decoration for a particular model of their vehicles. Very often these artist were chosen Bronze Woman Hood ornamentsbecause of their reputation, and expertise as a design sculpturer. In essence, the auto companies wanted a piece of art to set off and distinguish their vehicles.

It was inevitable that one day hood ornament desirability would escalate. This is especially so when they are viewed as works of art. You only need to look at the prices realized on some of the finest and rarest hood ornaments by top auction houses like Christie's and Sothebys to verify their status as highly sought after artistic creations.

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