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

Dix minutes de repos ou Le grand fardier

Details
Rembrandt Bugatti (1884-1916)
Dix minutes de repos ou Le grand fardier
signed and stamped with foundry mark 'R Bugatti A.A. HÉBRARD CIRE PERDUE' (on the back of the chariot)
bronze with brown patina
Height: 15 ¾ in. (40 cm.)
Length: 102 3/8 in. (260 cm.)
Conceived in 1905 and cast in 1906; unique
Provenance
Ettore Bugatti, Molsheim, Alsace (acquired from A.A. Hébrard, June 1920).
Roland Bugatti, Paris (by descent from the above).
Anon. sale, Champin and Lombrail, Enghien, 26 October 1980, lot 76.
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.
Literature
L. Vauxelles, "La fonte à cire perdue," Art et Décoration, vol. XVIII, July-December 1905, p. 189 (wax model illustrated, fig. 6).
M. Harvey, The Bronzes of Rembrandt Bugatti, London, 1979, p. 48, no. 50 (cast illustrated).
P. Dejean, Carlo-Rembrandt-Ettore-Jean Bugatti, Paris, 1981, p. 17 (illustrated in situ; illustrated again, pp. 196-197).
J.-C. des Cordes and V. Fromanger des Cordes, Rembrandt Bugatti, Catalogue raisonné, Paris, 1987, p. 108 (illustrated, pp. 108-109).
P. Kjellberg, Les bronzes du XIXe siècle, Dictionnaire des sculpteurs, Paris, 1987, pp. 144-145 (illustrated).
E. Horswell, Rembrandt Bugatti, London, 2004, pp. 90-91 (illustrated; illustrated again, p. 248).
V. Fromanger, Rembrandt Bugatti, Une trajectoire foudroyante, Répertoire monographique, Paris, 2016, pp. 304-305, no. 139 (illustrated in color).
Exhibited
Paris, Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts, Salon de 1905, 1905, no. 1710 (wax model exhibited).
Milan, Esposizione di Milano, 1906, p. 102, no. 41.
Paris, Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts, Salon de 1907, 1907, p. XLI, no. 1826.
Paris, Galerie Alberto Grubicy, Salon des Peintres Divisionnistes Italiens, September-October 1907, p. 9, no. 156.
Anvers, Société Royale de Zoologie, 1908.
Venice, VIII Esposizione Internazionale d'Arte della Città di Venezia, 1909, p. 124, no. 1.
Paris, Galerie A.A. Hébrard, Rembrandt Bugatti, May 1911, no. 30.
Paris, Galerie A.A. Hébrard, Rembrandt Bugatti, 1913.
New York, Goupil & Co., Original Bronzes by Rembrandt Bugatti and Paintings by Sherwood, January 1914, no. 1 (illustrated in situ; titled Team of Horses).
Anvers, Société Royale de Zoologie, Rembrandt Bugatti, Exposition Rétrospective, July-August 1955, no. 3.
Paris, Grand Palais, Salon d'automne, François Pompon, Rembrandt Bugatti,October-November 1973, no. 31.
London, The Royal College of Art, The Amazing Bugattis, October-November 1979, p. 34 (illustrated in situ, p. 35).
Berlin, Alte Nationalgalerie, Rembrandt Bugatti der Bedhauer, 1884-1916, March-July 2014, p. 31 (illustrated, p. 32, fig. 18; wax model illustrated, fig. 16).

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Lot Essay

Véronique Fromanger has confirmed the authenticity of this work.

"Dix minutes de repos" ou Le grand fardier was and remains a feat of bronze casting history, for Adrien Aurelien Hébrard cast it from one single mold. This work won the prestigious grand prize of sculpture in the 1906 Salon de Milan. Hébrard gave it pride of place in every single exhibition from 1905 to 1914 in his gallery, rue Royale in Paris, and at the Goupil & Cie. Gallery in April 1914 in New York. The few rare groups of horses, always cast as a unique bronze, were all acquired by the sculptor’s brother, the famed automobile engineer, Ettore Bugatti, in 1920 and 1924 and were all exhibited in his house in Molsheim, Alsace.
"Dix minutes de repos" ou Le grand fardier is the culmination of the atmosphere surrounding the labor of an era and a lifetime, at the dawn of the 20th century. Along the docks of the Seine River in Paris, six cart horses take a break just long enough to eat or sleep.
The spontaneous and sincere aspect of this group is a wonder of observation and descriptive detail. From the coupling of the horses, their flaring nostrils in the bags of oats, the furtive signal of the animals’ ears, to tensions and morphology of their muscles exerting or resting, the sculptor renders all the attitudes of these horses who’ve been allowed these ten minutes of rest by the carter.
The young Bugatti achieved with a single glance the carter’s attitudes as well, be he leading the horses or distributing rations. This minutiae extends to the hitch for which the sculptor has respected the details with such meticulousness that every horse is instantly recognizable in its role:
The cheval de tête is resting at a different angle than the other horses to stop them from moving forward. He is the most docile and responsive of the band. Often knowing the trip so well that he spontaneously stops at the top of hills to let the horseman set the brakes on the chariot, he has already finished eating and is resting, his legs almost joined and one of the back legs is lifted off the ground. Horses can sleep while standing, ears back, eyes open or half closed hidden behind the blinders while relieving one leg at a time. While resting like this, horses block their articulations. His head is lowered and we can almost imagine his lower lip drooping lightly above the bag.
Behind him are the chevaux de sous-verge of the group, placed here to learn from the lead horse for ten years. Their numbers grow according to the weight that must be pulled. The first and third are quietly eating, their heads almost completely covered by the bags of grain while the second one’s entire body is tensed in the effort to gather what is left of the food at the bottom of his bag.
The limonier or cheval de limon, placed all the way at the rear by the parallel bars fixed to the chariot, is the heaviest and most robust horse. He must absorb the shaking created by the potholes in the road which often threaten to destabilize him. To counter this, his stone load must be perfectly adjusted so that the weight isn’t felt solely on his stomach or back.
The cheval de cheville is also resting, sleeping while standing and relaxing his rear leg. He often serves as addition help for the limonier.
The sculptor has not left a single detail out: all of these horses are equipped with harnesses, reins, blinders, croupiers, and leather-clad neck braces that are softened with hay. This paramount contraption, reinforced with wood, is punctuated with holes through which the main harness is looped, allowing to keep the whole band of horses together as well as helping them gain enough traction to move the cargo which can weigh up to many tons.

Text by Véronique Fromanger, August 2017

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