Rembrandt Bugatti (1884 - Italian 1916)

Artist Biography: 1884. Born in Milan, 16th October, third child of Carlo Bugatti and Thérèse Lorioli. The young Rembrandt assisted at his father’s studio, 13 via Marcona.

1899. Rembrandt Bugatti’s first sculpture discovered under wraps in the studio. He subsequently attends the Brera Academy in Milan.

1903. Bugatti’s first public exposure at the Venice Biennale, soon followed by appearances at exhibitions in Turin and Milan. The family move to Paris, initially the rue Jeanne d’Arc, in the 8th arrondissement.

1904. Rembrandt holds the first of what would be a series of annual exhibitions at the Galerie Hébrard, Paris. The exhibition is a critical and commercial success. The sculptor is taken under contract by Hébrard. He also exhibits for the first time at the Salon de la Société des Beaux-Arts.

1905. The first of his regular appearances at the Salon d’Automne, then held at the Grand Palais. He shows Ten Minutes Rest, and The Horse Fair – both sculptural tours-de-force. Animals at the Jardins des Plantes are his principal subjects.

1906. Wins Grand Prix for sculpture in Milan. Bugatti begins spending time in Antwerp, to work at the Royal Zoological Gardens there, at the time the largest in Europe. He lives initially in a second floor apartment on Avenue de Kaiser (later moving to overlook the park, and finally to an address on Rempart de Béguines.

1907. Shows in a major exhibition of Italian art at Les Serres de l’Alma, Paris (probably the pavilion Rodin had built for his own 1900 exhibition at that locale). The first monograph appears on him, written by the critic Rossi-Sacchetti, who had known him from childhood.

1908-10. A high point in Bugatti’s career, he works prolifically both on animal and human subjects (creating among others two over-life-size male nudes). He befriends and encourages several young artists in Antwerp. His flamboyant dress sense earns him the tag ‘Americano’ (replacing his family’s nick-name ‘Pempa’).

1910. (15th May – 10th June). Major exhibition of Rembrandt’s sculpture in the Salle des Marbres at the Royal Zoological Society, Antwerp.

1911. Received the Légion d’Honneur for services to French art.

1914. With war approaching, Hébrard organizes Bugatti’s first New York solo exhibition, held at the Goupil Gallery. It includes works such as the European Bison, which would later enter the Hirshorn Museum. The sculptor’s spirits, finances and health are poor, however. The animals at Antwerp are sacrificed to a war-time cull. The zoo becomes a military hospital, and Bugatti volunteers as a stretcher bearer.

1915. The Grubicy Gallery mounts a Bugatti one-man show in Milan. He finally avails himself of safe passage to Paris, where he works on a private commission for a crucifixion.

1916. Dies by suicide, Paris, 18th January.

1912. Galerie Hébrard mounts a Bugatti retrospective of some hundred and twenty-five pieces.

1929. The Abdy Gallery, London, shows thirty-two bronzes, the first survey exhibition of Bugatti in Britain. The Tate Gallery acquires Walking Panther (1904).

1947. The Royal Zoological Society, Antwerp, establishes the Bugatti Prize for sculpture.

1955. A retrospective of Bugatti’s work in Antwerp helps to fuel a revival of interest in his work, much of which had remained in safe keeping at his brother’s Ettore’s home and car plant in Alscace (and later with Ettore’s heirs).

1973. A survey of Bugatti’s work at the Salon d’Automne is the culmination of growing interest among galleries and collectors internationally.

1979. The seminal exhibition of works by the Bugatti family, entitled The Amazing Bugattis, is staged at the Royal College of Art, London. Such shows, setting Rembrandt’s work alongside the designs of his father and brother, would later be held in Italy, Germany, Japan, France, Holland and America.

1987. The first comprehensive Catalogue raisonné is published by Veronique Fromanger des Cordes and Jacques Chalom des Cordes. Galleries continue to promote the artist, and his work is increasingly recognized by mainstream art historians in exhibitions and publications.

1999. The Cleveland Museum of Art stages the major exhibition Bugatti, 18th June – 19th September.

2004. The Musee d’Orsay in Paris devotes a permanent gallery to Bugatti’s sculpture.

Horse and Donkey, 1902

Bronze 23 x 49 x 17 cm 9 1/10" x 19 3/10" x 6 7/10" (height x length x depth)