(1884 - 1916)
Rembrandt Bugatti was active/lived in Italy, France. Rembrandt Bugatti is known for realistic animal sculpture, drawings.
Biography from the Archives of askART
An Italian sculptor whose reputation was for animal subjects, Rembrandt
Bugatti was born in Milan, Itlay to a family of artists including an
uncle, Giovanni Seguantini, a painter, and a brother, Ettore, a
sculptor. His mother left him for periods of time when he was a
child to lead a very secluded life and to deal with her bitterness at
her fragile health, exaserbated by the birth of Rembrandt.
Biography from Altermann Galleries and Auctioneers, I
At age 14, Rembrandt Bugatti had completed a sculptor of a farmer
leading cows that got the attention of his father and a sculptor,
Troubetzkoi, for its skill of execution. At Troubetzkoi's
suggestion, the young Bugatti enrolled in the Brera Academy of
Milan. Between 1900 and 1903, he worked intensely and then
exhibited for the first time at the Venice Biennale, something he also
did in 1907, 1909, 1910 and 1914.
He moved to Paris in 1904 with his parents, and there became an
exhibiting member of the National Society of Fine Art and spent much
time at the Garden of Plants observing animals, which he used as models
for his sculpture. His father, a furniture manufacturer, closed
his Milan workshop because he was so taken with the art culture of
Paris, and was helpful to his son, who tended to be shy, in meeting
figures of the art world.
Bugatti gained gallery representation shortly after his arrival in
Paris with Hebrard Gallery, owned by Adrien-Aurelien Hebrard, who had
Bugatti sign a contract of exclusivity. (It was co-signed by his
father because Rembrandt was not of legal age). It was a
successful arrangment financially for Hebrard but frustrating because
Bugatti was not getting what he felt was a fair share of the profits
and was filling many commissions of small works, which he called
'living room' pieces, rather than the larger pieces he preferred.
However, he was living with his parents so did not have trouble with
board and room expenses.
In 1905, he began exhibiting for the next eleven years at the Autumn
Show, held annually at the Grand Palais near the Champs Elyssees.
During this period, in addition to animals, he is also sculpting many
Two years later, in 1907, he began a seven-year period in Belgium,
invited by members of the Royal Society of Zoology in Antwerp to be a
part of their exhibitions and attend workshops. For Bugatti, an
added bonus was the quality of the Antwerp Zoo. Room and board was
not a part of the arrangement, but he found welcome lodging in the
family of the General Consul from France in Antwerp.
He spent much time at the Zoo, but does not socialize much with other
artists and shows discomfort in being with people socially. Also
he has financial problems, one of the reasons attributed to his
extravagance in buying clothes for himself. Although preferring
to work in Belgium, he travels often to Paris to meet with Hebrard, but
gradually loses interest in marketing his sculptures. His health
deteriorates, and he receives the diagnosis of tuberculosis.
In December 1909, Rembrandt's brother, Ettore, opened a factory for his
automobiles, the beginnings of the famous Ettore Bugatti Motorcars, and
living in a luxurious villa at Molsheim in the Alsace District of
France, hosts his family including Rembrandt for Christmas. The
following June, Rembrandt, age 26, exhibited at the Royal Society of
Zoology in Antwerp and was highly praised. In 1912, sponsored by
Hebrard, he received the rank of Chevalier of Legion of Honour of
France, and in November 1913, he was highly lauded in an art critic's
review for a monthly, Art and Decoration. However, his
inclination to be solitary increased along with mental
depression. In a letter to Ettore, he referred to his days as
being "monotonous, without enjoyment nor pleasure." In 1914, he
became a stretcher-bearer for the Red Cross in a Belgian section in the
Zoo of Antwerp, and was so heroic, he was named Honour Citizen by
officials of the City of Antwerp.
After his war service, he returned to Paris where, on January 8, 1916,
he committed suicide with poison in his workshop in Montparnasse,
leaving a letter for Ettore and another for the city constable.
He is buried in the Bugatti family vault at Dorlisheim, near
Rembrandt Bugatti's last sculpture was of a snake being crushed by a
lion, and it is signed by Ettore Bugatti with the words: "last work of
my brother---Paris, January 8th, 1916". Hebrard had a death mask
done of Rembrandt, and it is in the Orsay Museum in Paris.
Rembrandt Bugatti (16 October 1884 - 8 January 1916) was an Italian sculptor, known primarily for his bronze sculptures of wildlife subjects.
** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at
Born in Milan, into a notably artistic family, Rembrandt Bugatti was the second son of Carlo Bugatti (1856-1940) and his wife, Teresa Lorioli. His older brother was Ettore Bugatti who became one of the world's most famous automobile manufacturers.
He was given his first name by his uncle, the painter Giovanni Segantini. His father was a successful and important Art Nouveau furniture and jewelry designer who also worked in textiles, ceramics, and silver metalware. As such, Rembrandt Bugatti grew up in an environment where a great many of his parent's friends were from the artistic world. In 1902, the family moved to Paris, where they lived in a community of artisans.
As a child he hung around his father's workshop and was encouraged to try sculpting in plasticine by the family friend and renowned Russian sculptor, Prince Paolo Troubetzkoy (1866-1938).
Rembrandt Bugatti was a young man when he began to work with the art foundry and gallery owner, Adrian Hébrard. He produced a number of bronzes which were successfully exhibited and promoted by Hébrard. Bugatti's love of nature led to him spending a great deal of time in the wildlife sanctuary near the Jardin des Plantes in Paris or at the Antwerp Zoo where he studied the features and movement of exotic animals. His sculptures of animals such as elephants, panthers and lions became his most valuable and popular works.
The silver elephant mascot that sits on top of the radiator of the Bugatti Royale was cast from one of Rembrandt's original sculptures.
His art works are now also highly priced. A cast of his 1909-1910 bronze, Babouin Sacré Hamadryas (Sacred Hamadryas Baboon), was auctioned at Sotheby's in 2006 for $2.56 million. In May, 2010, the Babouin reappeared at auction at Sotheby's (est. $2/3 million), along with a male and female Lion and Lionne de Nubie (est. $1.5/2 million and $1.2/1.8 million, respectively), a Grande girafe tête basse (est. $1/1.5 million) and seven other pieces from the S. Joel Schur Collection, perhaps the finest collection of masterpieces by Bugatti in private hands according to one report. One of the Bugatti pieces was reported sold apparently as part of a group of sculptures (with three Rodin and a Noguchi) for an aggregate of $20 million.
During World War I the Antwerp Zoo was forced to kill most of its wild livestock. This deeply affected Bugatti because he had used many of these animals as objects for his sculpture. In 1916, at the age of 31, he killed himself.
He is interred in the Bugatti family plot at the municipal cemetery in Dorlisheim in the Bas-Rhin département of the Alsace region of France.
1. ^ Antiques Roadshow Insider, V.7, No.2, February 2007, p. 1.
2. ^ "Sotheby's New York Sale of Impressionist and Modern Art May 5th" artknowledgenews.com, undated. Retrieved 2010-05-10.
3. ^ "A Sober Follow-Up to a Record Auction Night" by Carol Vogel, The New York Times, May 5, 2010 (May 6, 2010 on p. A24 of National ed.). Retrieved 2010-05-10.
4. ^ "Rembrandt Bugatti". http://www.bugatti.com/en/tradition/history/the-bugatti-family/rembrandt-bugatti.html. Retrieved August 28, 2009.
Share an image of the Artist email@example.com.