Rembrandt Bugatti’s passion and talent
Designer Carlo Bugatti (whom we wrote about in this article) really wanted his son Rembrandt (Milan, 1884 – Paris, 1916) to be a railway engineer.
But Rembrandt’s strong calling for sculpture became undeniable when he was 14 years old and his father found a group of terracotta cows led by a pastor under a damp cloth.
In 1902, the Bugattis moved to Paris, where Rembrandt followed his passion for sculpting animals – his brother Ettore, in founding his famous car company, used his “Dancing elephant” to decorate the calender of his Bugatti Royale. In 1907, Rembrandt moved to Antwerp and found a house near the local zoo so he could study animals’ habits and peculiarities and represent them in bronze works.
“Journalists and critics” – according to Bugatti’s imaginary biography by Edgardo Franzosini – “began noticing him, year after year. They looked at his works with interest at first, and later with admiration.”
“Some in particular have caught a glimpse of the exceptional relationship between Rembrandt and his models. They write that Monsieur Bugatti’s talent stands out for his exact knowledge of animals’ habits and behaviors: he seems to have lived with them, and that he might understand their every move and expression.”
“Others are not afraid to point out that Rembrandt Bugatti loves animals not only as an artist, but also as a man, with feelings that reach the height of tenderness […]”
“If so much is said and written about him, it is because the animals he sculpts don’t resemble the ones other artists have shown us so far, at all. And while one critic highlights the more in-depth study of the flesh, or the clearer perception of fur or feathers, another underscores his courage, will and even patience” (translated from E. Franzosini, “Questa vita tuttavia mi pesa molto”, Adelphi, Milan 2015).
Rembrandt Bugatti took his own life in his Montparnasse studio in 1916, before he turned 32.