Ford was the first manufacturer to develop a V8 engine—previously associated with luxury and specialist cars—for a mass market. In employing Cassandre, Ford infused its corporate reputation for industrial innovation with the artistic cachet of European modernism. Cassandre was already established as a preeminent French poster designer and in 1936 he had become the first graphic artist to have a solo exhibition at MoMA. This compelling image of a disembodied, all-seeing eye is rooted in a classical tradition that emphasizes the primacy of vision in Western culture; the eye is also prevalent in Surrealist art of the 1920s. Trailing from the iris, the slogan "Watch the Fords Go By" gives a sense of modern vision, always in motion, while the V8 icon imprinted on the pupil suggests a fusion of mind, body, and technology—a synthesis that revolutionized individual perception in the modern world.
Gallery label from Shaping Modernity: Design 1880-1980, December 23, 2009–July 25, 2010 .