Education: Milan Academy of Arts, Milan; Antwerp Academy of Art, Antwerp
Rembrandt Bugatti's Famous Works
"Kamel und Elefant," 1904
"Lionceau et Levrier Entre Ses Pattes," 1906
"Girafe, Le Cou Tendu," 1907
"Austruche Tete Basse," 1910
"Petit Elephant au Repos," 1913
"Deux Grands Leopards," 1914
Rembrandt Bugatti was an Italian artist best known for his focus on wildlife sculpture. He came from a well-known family of artisans and was the brother of Ettore Bugatti, the famous automobile designer. Rembrandt Bugatti's works
have been exhibited at a number of galleries and museums around the world.
Rembrandt Bugatti's Early Life
Rembrandt Bugatti was born in autumn of 1884, the second son of Art Nouveau designer Carlo Bugatti and his wife Teresa Lorioli. He was raised in an environment that fostered a proclivity towards art, as much of his parents’ social network included various high-profile creative professionals such as sculptor Ercole Rosa, composers Leoncavallo and Giacomo Puccini and the painter Giovanni Segantini who was responsible for naming Rembrandt and served as his godfather.
As an infant, Bugatti spent a lot of time in his father’s studio, stocked as it was with colorful textiles, ceramic and silver. The Russian sculptor Prince Paolo Troubetzkoy encouraged the boy to try his hand at sculpting with plasticine, and by the time he enrolled at the Milan Academy of Arts at the age of 16, he was already a technically sound sculptor. His talent for drawing was specially developed, though he would work primarily with bronze figures during his brief lifetime. His earliest known work is a sculpture of a grazing cow from 1901 that displayed enough promise for his art to be exhibited in shows across the country by the time he was 19.
Rembrandt Bugatti's Creative Development
The Bugatti family moved to France
in 1904 to live in an artists’ commune in the capital, where Rembrandt was accepted into the Societe Nationale des Beaux-Arts. During this period, he began assisting gallery owner Adrian Hebrard at his art foundry, producing a series of bronze figurines that were successfully marketed and promoted by Hebrard. In these years, Bugatti’s affinity for wildlife art developed into the exclusive focal point of his work and he began to spend a great deal of time at the Jardin des Plantes.
In 1907, he left Paris for Antwerp, attracted to Belgium by the prestigious Antwerp Academy of Art as well as the city’s famous zoo, known for its collection of exotic animals. It was there that he studied the form and energy of beasts such as panthers, lions and elephants, a small silver version of which sits atop the radiator in his brother Ettore’s car, the Bugatti Royale. Though his style became more angular over time, the influence of modern aesthetics remained remote from his practices.
Rembrandt Bugatti's Later Life
The outbreak of the First World War triggered a sequence of events that would eventually lead to Bugatti’s premature death in 1916. After serving as a paramedical aide at the Military Hospital in Antwerp, he began suffering from severe depression, compounded by financial trouble from lack of sales. Additionally, the Antwerp zoo was being forced to put down many of their animals because of unavailability of feed. These factors resulted in his decision to end his life at the age of 31 in January of 1916. He was buried in the family plot at the cemetery of Dorlisheim in France. You can buy Rembrandt Bugatti's artworks online
Rembrandt Bugatti's Museums/Galleries
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C.
Musee d’Orsay, Paris
Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, Ohio, US
Courtauld Institute of Art, London
Indiana University Art Museum, Bloomington, Indiana, US
National Museum of Wildlife Art, Jackson Hole, Wyoming, US
Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, Brussels
“Rembrandt Bugatti: The Sculptor 1884-1916” by Philipp Demandt and Anke Daemgen
“Bugatti: Carlo, Rembrandt, Ettore, Jean” by Amanda Dunsmore
“Rembrandt Bugatti: Life in Sculpture” by Edward Horswell