Rembrandt Bugatti was one of the most remarkable and independently inventive sculptors of the early twentieth century. Although his career was cut short by his tragic suicide at age 31, he produced more than three hundred works, including the small-scale bronze animal sculptures for which he is best known.
Rembrandt Bugatti: The Sculptor 18841916 offers a comprehensive retrospective of Bugatti’s brief but highly productive career. Making his first professional appearance at the Venice Biennale in 1902, Bugatti followed in the tradition of the great impressionists Medardo Rosso, Edgar Degas, and Auguste Rodin, with additional influences from art nouveau, symbolism, and the elegance of the Belle Époque, the latter through well-known Russian sculptor and friend of the family, Prince Paul Troubetzkoy. Animals remained a common theme throughout Bugatti’s work and presented ample opportunities for experimentation, since they were well-established neither in the academic tradition nor as a theme in art. While his earlier models and maquettes closely mimic the creatures on which they are based, Bugatti’s later, more technically advanced works tend toward geometric abstraction utilizing angular shapes produced with a palette knife. His last sculptures of tigers, in particular, appear almost mechanical and show how truly ahead of his time Bugatti was by the end of his career.
In showing the entire range of Bugatti’s work, this beautifully illustrated book reveals the impressive command the artist had over his sculptural ability at such a young age. Together with his striking tendency toward artistic experimentation, it demonstrates why his work remains well-loved and in the permanent collections of many museums today.
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About the Author
Philipp Demandt is director of the Alte Nationalgalerie in Berlin. Anke Daemgen is a Berlin-based art historian and curator. Together, they are the curators of an accompanying exhibition on Rembrandt Bugatti at the Alte Nationalgalerie.
Table of Contents
Benita von Maltzahn
Rembrandt? Bugatti?: Discovering the Artist behind a Famous Name
Udo Kittelmann and Philipp Demandt
The Sensation of Life: Rembrandt Bugatti and the Animal in Nineteenth and Twentieth-Century Art A View from Berlin
Rembrandt Bugatti: His Life, Family and Work
Fur and Feather: Animaliers in Paris Animal Sculpture from Barye to Pompon
From Milan to Paris: Rembrandt Bugatti’s Beginnings within the Art Environment of His Home City
The Art of Looking Closely: Zoological Gardens around 1900 at the Interface of Science, Art and Spectacle
Capturing the Fleeting Moment: Impressionism and Sculpture
Selected Bibliography, Photographic Credits
Authors’ Biographies, Notes on the Catalogue