French, born in Milan, 1885–1916
Deux Girafes (Two
H. 16 in. x W. 20 1/4 in. x L. 23 1/4 in.
Younger brother of racing car designer Ettore Bugatti,
Rembrandt Bugatti is one of three sculptors, along with
Degas and Pompon, who led the French Impressionist school
of Animalier sculpture. Born in Milan to a long line
of artists and designers, he moved to Paris in 1902 to
study sculpture. Bugatti studied the animals and modeled
from life at the zoological park in the Jardin des Plantes
along with other artists. He eventually exhibited at
the Paris Salon.
Unlike the previous generation of Animalier sculptors, Bugatti did not represent
realism in nature, but he developed an abstracted and stylized form. A signature
of his style was placing animals in groups related to one another through similar
movement. Awarded the Legion of Honor at the age of 26, Bugatti, who suffered
from depression and migraine headaches, committed suicide in 1916. Scholars consider
his animal sculpture the finest of the early twentieth century.
The single giraffe held by the IUAM is one of a pair group, Deux Girafes, found
in the listings of his body of work. Older photographs of the Metz Collection
picture the two giraffes, mother and child, in the same pose—facing as
if to touch noses. The smaller piece is unlocated.