ImpModDay_Bugattilots 301-307
Rembrandt Bugatti (1884-1916)
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Property from a Private French Collection
Rembrandt Bugatti (1884-1916)

Rhinocéros de trois ans

Rembrandt Bugatti (1884-1916)
Rhinocéros de trois ans
signed, numbered and stamped with foundry mark 'R-Bugatti- (6) A.A. HÉBRARD CIRE PERDUE' (on the top of the base)
bronze with brown patina
Height: 15 ¾ in. (40 cm.)
Length: 26 ¾ in. (68 cm.)
Conceived circa 1909-1910
Galerie A.A. Hébrard, Paris (by 1934).
Acquired by the present owner, by 1990.
M. Harvey, The Bronzes of Rembrandt Bugatti, London, 1979, p. 54, no. 60 (another cast illustrated; titled Great Indian Rhinoceros).
P. Dejean, Carlo-Rembrandt-Ettore-Jean Bugatti, Paris, 1981, p. 142 (another cast illustrated, p. 207; titled Great Rhinoceros).
J.-C. des Cordes and V. Fromanger des Cordes, Rembrandt Bugatti, Catalogue raisonné, Paris, 1987, p. 208 (another cast illustrated in color; titled Rhinocéros indien).
E. Horswell, Rembrandt Bugatti, London, 2004, p. 196 (another cast illustrated in color, pp. 194-195; titled Indian Rhinoceros).
V. Fromanger, Rembrandt Bugatti, Une trajectoire foudroyante, Répertoire monographique, Paris, 2016, pp. 347-348, no. 249 (another cast illustrated in color).

Brought to you by

Vanessa Fusco
Vanessa Fusco

Lot Essay

Véronique Fromanger has confirmed the authenticity of this work.

Bugatti spent the better part of his time at the zoo. One day, he visited the rhinoceros house and was struck with admiration for a three-year-old specimen that had just arrived. Making sculptures of animals offered Bugatti a refuge from human interaction but still allowed him to depict inwardness, affection, irritation and the other states of mind that animals share with people. He captured the rhythm and movement of animals, as well as their awkwardness, with an empathy that seemed sometimes mutual.
The present model is the only horned rhinoceros in Bugatti’s oeuvre. The other model, the rhinocéros de java, is hornless and exists in large and small versions. Here, the animal is portrayed with great accuracy in all its prehistoric dimensions: the massive and powerful body, the thick skin divided into plates by large folds, the imposing hindquarters. Each detail insists on the heft of the animal, heavy and solid, which is subtly animated by the asymmetrical movement of the two ears pulled backwards, the tilt of the head towards the side and the piece of foliage protruding from its mouth. French animaliers of the 19th century such as Antoine-Louis Barye were the pioneers of their day but they sculpted animals from photographs and drawings or by dissecting carcasses. Bugatti, by contrast, observed them for days, sometimes weeks, before capturing the subtlety of their expressions in clay.

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