Galerie Jean-Marc Thévenet in Paris exhibited (thru Dec.5, 2012) the work of legendary motoring artist Denis Sire, champion of inserting fantastical pinup girls into historical situations.  Sire was born in 1953 at Saint Nazaire on the Atlantic coast of France, and studied art in Paris at ‘L’Ecole des Arts Appliqués.  His work is most familiar to 1980s readers of Playboy and Heavy Metal magazinesand I’ve had a copy of his Velocette Thruxton sketch on the wall of my office for decades, admiring his outrageous mix of scantily clad femininity with hot rods, record breakers, fighter planes, and motorcycles.  Meeting Sire in person last February at Rétromobile in Paris, I discovered he also possesses a unique sense of style, befitting his outré artistic ouevre.

‘Gene Hartley Rides the Red Horse’ [Denis Sire]
Roughly translated from the Thévenet Gallery website‘Denis Sire has since 1980 drawn an idealized geography, whose contours include the Isle of Man, Brooklands, Indianapolis, Goodwood, Berlin, LeMans …  The exhibition presents works by Denis Sire covering the period to 1910s to the 1950s, each drawing creating legends where the artist, genius that he is, plays with context, where each element belongs, as long as Sire is wielding the pencil.  A number of drawings are available on vintage paper with texts that are reinterpretations of those moments where art and machines meet historical truth.’

‘Petrali Soul’, Joe Petrali’s Harley Davidson Knucklehead record-breaker…[Denis Sire]
‘Jimmy Guthrie’, the legendary Norton factory racer circa 1935 [Denis Sire]
Dennis sire with a flat-track Harley CR250… which was of course built by Aermacchi. That’s an Aermacchi jet, on the shores of Lake Varese (photo from internet)
All artwork images courtesy and copyright Galerie Jean Marc Thévenet
Paul d’Orléans is the founder of He is an author, photographer, filmmaker, museum curator, event organizer, and public speaker. Check out his Author Page, Instagram, and Facebook.