ImpModDay_Bugattilots 301-307
Rembrandt Bugatti (1884-1916)
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The sculptor Rembrandt Bugatti was twenty years old in 1904, the year he met the man who would oversee the casting of his bronzes, Adrien Aurelien Hébrard:"Upon the recommendation of a friend to go see the works of the young artist, his pretty name was, at first met with distrust as I found it evocative of too much glory and too much art…Instead of a small Italian with dexterous hands, I found a true artist. This tall boy, skinny, blushing, and quiet that Museum regulars call 'the American' showed me, without saying a word, the modeled clays which represented a year’s worth of dedicated attention and work. These are the things I like to present to art lovers. In these they will find the pulse of life which animates sincere works. They will also find an extraordinary account of the environment in which the subjects were seen...Too rarely do I find a sincere and personable artist for it not be a joy of mine to introduce him to the public" (Hébrard, 1904).From Hébrard’s first early castings, Bugatti’s success was immediate. Critics were unanimous in their praise: "Here is a truly exceptional young sculptor…the sense of observation of his eye and spirit has given way to a great deal of talent…in which both poetry and realism are placed and united under the sign of his marvelous sensitivity…Each and every animal has its own traits, its own particular physiognomy…Rembrandt Bugatti is truly a revelation for all who love and appreciate impressionist sculpture" (Le Figaro, 22 June 1904).At the Jardin des Plantes, his giant silhouette, his demeanor, his elegance which appeared both innate and sophisticated made him appear a character of legend, a man of the “New World.” While we don’t know his reading preferences, Bugatti could have been an assiduous reader of the essayist and naturalist John Burroughs, as well as Leo Tolstoy and perhaps Giovanni Segantini, his uncle. And if John Burroughs had met Bugatti, he could have written the following about him: "…to discover what you were not searching for, to witness the blinking and the shy shivering,…to catch the note or the revealing movements, to pierce all the screens thanks to the power of your visual beams and to have an eye as acute as a blind man’s hands, that is what one would call a good observer."In 1906, an article by Marcel Horteloup was published in the London-based review Studio International which proclaimed that Bugatti wanted first and foremost to be a "narrator of animal psychology." Indeed, the sculptor spent fifteen years of his life living with wild animals between Paris and Anvers, not in the goal to classify but to observe them lengthy, one on one, to study and decipher their behavior, their signals, their sonority, their attitudes, one at a time in their world of senses. His entire work flows from this process of daily contact, from this dialogue between man and beast, be it wild or tamed, which verges on communion. This collection of works by Rembrandt Bugatti presented here offers a rare overview of his œuvre. In ten years of dizzying production, in the fever of creation, Bugatti experimented with impressionism, expressionism, synthesis of form and matter, and the dynamism of futurism. The original plaster models for Grand Éléphant du Muséum "Rachel," "Dix minutes de repos" ou Le Grand Fardier, Jument et son poulain, Serpent Python royal, Rhinocéros de trois ans, Brebis merinos, Petits Léopards l’un derrière l’autre were all conceived between 1903 and 1912. While giving free reign to his intuition, Bugatti melded abstraction and figuration through lines, volumes, and his vision of the animal, wild or domesticated, to evolve from a rapid and fiery execution of said volumes towards an approach that was both precise and complex. The young Bugatti eventually gave his original plaster models to Hébrard along with granting him the rights of reproduction and distribution. The contract for l’Édition originale Rembrandt Bugatti came into effect upon that first meeting in 1904. For the first time, the bronzes were produced in a limited edition, the bronzes were numbered and stamped with the foundry mark "Cire Perdue A.-A. Hébrard." It is also the first time in the history of bronze casting that certain models were cast as unique objects. In the beginning of the 20th century, as part of his plan to propel Bugatti’s work into the public domain, Hébrard revolutionized the world of bronze.Text by Véronique Fromanger, August 2017 Property from a Private French Collection
Rembrandt Bugatti (1884-1916)

Deux petits léopards l'un derrière l'autre

Rembrandt Bugatti (1884-1916)
Deux petits léopards l'un derrière l'autre
signed, numbered and stamped with foundry mark 'R.Bugatti. (8) A.A. HÉBRARD CIRE PERDUE' (on the top of the base)
bronze with dark brown patina
Height: 15 in. (38 cm.)
Length: 25 1/8 in. (64 cm.)
Conceived circa 1912
Anon. sale, Ader Picard Tajan, Paris, 8 April 1989, lot 30.
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.
M. Harvey, The Bronzes of Rembrandt Bugatti, London, 1979, p. 36, no. 27 (another cast illustrated).
P. Dejean, Carlo-Rembrandt-Ettore-Jean Bugatti, Paris, 1981, p. 149 (another cast illustrated).
J.-C. des Cordes and V. Fromanger des Cordes, Rembrandt Bugatti, Catalogue raisonné, Paris, 1987, p. 270 (another cast illustrated, pp. 270-271).
E. Horswell, Rembrandt Bugatti, London, 2004, p. 85 (another cast illustrated in color, pp. 88-89; titled Two Leopards, One With Tail Raised and dated 1911).
V. Fromanger, Rembrandt Bugatti, Une trajectoire foudroyante, Répertoire monographique, Paris, 2016, pp. 365-366, no. 304 (another cast illustrated in color).

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Lot Essay

Véronique Fromanger has confirmed the authenticity of this work.

Bugatti spent the end of 1913 with the big cats of the Antwerp Zoo, at the time the largest zoo in Europe. The zoo had recently installed new enclosures without bars for their leopards and tigers, which was then a cutting-edge innovation to see animals roam together within their cages. Carl Hagenbeck, a prominent dealer in wild animals, had effectively invented a system of training without restraints, which succeeded in using verbal cues to instill a sense of hierarchy in the animals in which humans occupied the top rung. The cats evidently obeyed their trainers, and were thus freed from their traditional cages.

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