Jaguars in the painting of Marek Okrassa

Marek Okrassa’s paintings often feature luxury roadsters from the 1950s and 1960s. The artist appreciates brands such as Mercedes and Porsche. However, perhaps Jaguar is the most often featured in his works.

The painting entitled ‘Moon’ depicts a beautiful convertible: a Jaguar XK120. The white paintwork on what was the fastest road car of its time perfectly harmonises with the woman’s dress on the right. The composition is completed by a sculpture on a white pedestal. The artist also used this car model in his paintings entitled ‘The Cake’ or ‘White Convertible on the Beach’. Almost every time the car was painted pearly white. The exception is the composition entitled ‘Jaguar. Lips’. In it, the artist deviated from his preferences and painted the XK120 in a green, even closed-top version.

The car itself was designed as a rear-wheel drive and packed an inline six-cylinder engine with 160 horsepower. This vehicle could hit a maximum speed of 200 kilometres per hour. However, some were able to accelerate it up to 213! In 1953, Norman Dewis developed an aerodynamically modified Jaguar XK120 that could reach a dizzying speed of 277 kilometres per hour. Between 1948–1954, over twelve thousand models of this car were produced, which was also used in motorsport and competed in the 24-hours Le Mans, the Mille Miglia and the NASCAR series. The successor to the legendary XK120 was the more powerful and faster XK140.

The style of the XK120 was rather romantic and classic. The designers of the Jaguar E-type looked much further into the future. The most beautiful car of all time according to the Daily Telegraph stands out in Mark Okrassa’s paintings in terms of its modern style. The model is featured in the painting ‘Motorboat’ from 2009. A yellow E-type stands opposite the eponymous Riva motorboat, as if the author wanted to compare these two masterpieces of technical craftsmanship. In addition, this model is also present on the following canvases: ‘Meeting’ from 2013, ‘Palms. Hat’ and a work on paper entitled ‘Chihuahua’. Unlike the XK120, the artist does not restrict himself to one colour. In his works, the Jaguar E-type appears in various, bright shades, including black.

Technically, this was a rear-wheel drive car powered by a modified XK engine, used for example in the XK120. The most powerful version of this model packed 276 horsepower and could accelerate from zero to one hundred kilometres per hour in just six and four tenths of a second. Numerous wooden interior elements added charm to the design.

Marek Okrassa’s love of Jaguars is fully understandable. The Coventry-based brand has produced many beautiful models that begged to be immortalised in paintings. The picturesque XK120 and E-type roadsters were no exception.

Header illustration: Marek Okrassa Moon, 2021, oil on canvas 73×65 cm.