ARBIB, Richard H. (1917-1995)
"Riviera Coupe" Concept Art
[Detroit]: 1940. Mixed media on paper. Signed "Richard H. Arbib" and dated "9/24/40" Image size (including text): 15 1/8 x 23 inches. Framed. 25 1/4 x 31 1/4 inches.
A conceptual precursor of the famous Riviera of a later era
This Arbib drawing was from his early involvement with GM's Styling Section under Harley Earl. It anticipates the famous Buick Riviera, which first appeared in 1949, also a 2 door hardtop. The Riviera Buick is most famous for the one which appeared on the market in 1963. Like this distant predecessor, it was sleek and sexy, comfortable and speedy.
Arbib's drawing emphasizes the sleek contoured shape that seems the antithesis of the boxy cars of the 20's. At evening, in a California-like (or Riviera) seaside setting, the stylish coupe with its stylish driver pull up in front of a neo-Moorish portal where woman who looks like a model awaits him, cool and handsome like the car.
Richard Arbib was a tireless industrial designer whose work ranged from watches to yachts, and included many lasting automotive innovations. Born in Gloversville, New York of Egyptian parentage, he attended Pratt. He worked on GM's exhibition at the 1939 World's Fair, and then various automotive, industrial and military designers (during the war) until he set up his own firm in New York in 1949. His work during the 1950's was especially important to the future as many of his dynamic and "space-age" designs were incorporated into production models of the late 50's, 60's and 70's. He also supplied illustrations to science fiction magazines and novels.
Frederick Sharf, Richard H. Arbib 1917-1995 Visionary American Designer. 2006.