Rembrandt Bugatti

Rembrandt Bugatti
Italian, 1884-1916
Fawn, 1910
Bronze, dark brown patina
12 H. x 11 W. x 4 ⅜ D. inches
Signed on Base: R. Bugatti
Numbered: (4)
Stamped: Cire/Perdue/ A.A Hebrard
Model was cast in an edition of thirty-five

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Bugatti always worked from direct observation of animals at Antwerp Zoo and produced a series of images of the deer family, the most famous of which being his ‘Mes Antilopes’, a life-size unique piece. However, in his smaller, more intimate studies of fawns and their mothers, the fragility of nature and indeed love are more visible.

This fawn is shown here on its own, but also forms part of a larger group sculpture depicting a family of axis deer (see illustration). As is so often the case with Bugatti’s work, animals singled out from a larger group work effectively on their own as well.

The Axis, also known as spotted deer, chital or cheetal is a deer which commonly inhabits wooded regions of Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and in small numbers in Pakistan. The spotted deer is found in dense deciduous or semi-evergreen forests and open grasslands. The highest numbers of Chital are found in the forest of India where they feed upon tall grass and shrubs.


Rembrandt Bugatti – Life in Sculpture’, by Edward Horswell, 2016, revised fifth edition, page 99.
‘Rembrandt Bugatti Sculptor. A Meteoric Rise. Repertoire Monographique’, by Veronique Fromanger, page 353, cat. no. 267.
‘Bugatti Les Meubles, Bugatti Les Sculptures, Bugatti Les Autos’, by Marianne et Pierre Nahon, 1995, page 113.
‘Rembrandt Bugatti Felines and Figures’, The Sladmore Gallery, 1993, page 40.
‘Rembrandt Bugatti – Catalogue Raisonne’, by Jacques-Chalom Des Cordes et Veronique Fromanger des Cordes, 1987, page 265.
‘Carlo-Rembrandt-Ettore-Jean Bugatti’ by Phillipe Dejean, 1982, page 350.
‘The Bronzes of Rembrandt Bugatti’, by Mary Harvey, 1979, page 61.


Rembrandt Bugatti Sculpteur Animalier’, Galerie le Brun et Maison L’Ecuyer, Brussels.
‘Rembrandt Bugatti. Felines and Figures’, The Sladmore Gallery, London, 1993.


Fine Art Gallery of San Diego, USA (acquisition no. 38: 155a

Artist Description

Italian-born artist Rembrandt Bugatti is the son of furniture designer Carlo Bugatti, and the younger brother of car designer Ettore Bugatti. Rembrandt distinguished himself as one of the finest sculptors of the early 20th century. Although his career was brief—he committed suicide at age 31—he produced some 300 sculptures to commercial and critical success.

Unlike his artistic predecessors, namely the 19th-century French sculptor Antoine-Louis Barye, who precisely depicted wild creatures in violent combat, Bugatti portrayed animals at rest—sitting, stretching, nuzzling, grooming. His understanding of animals was both empirical and empathic. He worked from direct observation, creating clay models in proximity to the live animals he visited at the zoo. While his style and technique evolved over time—his surfaces ranged from sleek finishes to faceting that approached Cubism—his compassion for his subjects was unwavering, as evident in his sensitive portrayals.

Bugatti was born in Milan in 1884, and he worked in Paris and Antwerp. His early talents were nurtured in the creative environment of his family (the young artist was particularly inspired by the work of his uncle, the painter Giovanni Segantini) and he was encouraged by such family friends as Russian sculptor Paul Troubetzkoy. Bugatti began exhibiting his works in the early 1900s, joining the major Paris gallery and foundry of A. A. Hébrard. In 1911, at age 27, he was elected Chevalier of the Legion of Honor. Despite enjoying periods of success, which included praise from poet and critic Guillaume Apollinaire and the elder sculptor Auguste Rodin, Bugatti, who struggled with lifelong depression, suffered emotional and financial hardships exacerbated by the First World War. He ended his life by gas poisoning in Paris in 1916.

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