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Rembrandt Bugatti
French, born in Milan, 1885–1916
Deux Girafes (Two Giraffes), 1907
Cast bronze
H. 16 in. x W. 20 1/4 in. x L. 23 1/4 in.
IUAM 94.82

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.


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