Born in Milan, into a notably artistic family, Rembrandt Bugatti was the second son of Carlo Bugatti 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.
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.
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.
Later life and death
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.
- Antiques Roadshow Insider, V.7, No.2, February 2007, p. 1.
- "Sotheby's New York Sale of Impressionist and Modern Art May 5th" artknowledgenews.com, undated. Retrieved 2010-05-10.
- "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.
- "Rembrandt Bugatti". Retrieved August 28, 2009.
- Edward Horswell, Rembrandt Bugatti, Felines and Figures, published by The Sladmore Gallery 1993 (ISBN 0-95140-612-4)
- Edward Horswell, Rembrandt Bugatti, Life in Sculpture, published by The Sladmore Gallery 2004 (ISBN 1-90140-375-0)
- Edward Horswell, Rembrandt Bugatti, une vie pour la sculpture, éd. de l'Amateur 2006, published by The Sladmore Gallery (ISBN 2-85917-451-6)
- Veronique Fromanger, Rembrandt Bugatti Sculpteur-Répertoire monographique,published by éd. de l'Amateur 2010 (ISBN 978-2-85917-499-6)
- Bugatti Company, Rembrant Bugatti biography
- ArtBronze, Rembrant Bugatti
- Biography on the National Museum of Wildlife Art
Synopsis "Rembrandt Bugatti Sculpteur"-Expositions-Musée Virtuel-Lectures-Conférence "Cleveland 1999":