The fantasies of Carlo Bugatti

At the origin of a real family saga, Carlo Bugatti continues to fascinate today. Father of the famous sculptor of animal bronzes Rembrandt and of the no less famous car manufacturer Ettore, he distinguished himself through the creation of astonishing exceptional furniture with an unparalleled style.

Born in Milan in 1856, he studies at the Academy of Brera in his hometown, follows the Beaux-Art academy of Paris. From 1880, he laid the groundwork for his so recognizable style with the creation of a bedroom made for his sister’s wedding. Metal and ivory inlay, enbassed copper… many elements representative of his work are already visible.

His orders were then mainly intended for the aristocracy. In 1900, he presented works at the Universal Exhibition and although still elitist in his work, he increased his fame.

If Carlo Bugatti’s artwork is so notorious it is because his production can not be compared to any other. Although working during the great period of Art Nouveau, his pieces do not yet use this characteristic language. The only element that can be compared to this style is the slightly Japanese spirit that emerges from some of its ornaments, or the floral stylisation, or the floral stylization, although this only serves as an ornament, without defining the shape.

Carlo Bugatti hated any style attribution, to the point that during the Universal Exposition of 1902, the Italian queen who mentioned a moorish style from the sight of his furniture has been corrected by the artist « You are wrong majesty, this is my own style ». He does not seek to imitate anything and the materials he uses are his own. The parchement, the copper, the tin, the bone, the mother-of-pearl, the enbassed copper, the inlays, the trimmings are various specific elements to his work. He sometimes affix on the parchement some poetics sketchs evoking the wildness. His inlays often take the form of acronyms similar to to Arabic writing but often without meaning. This writing is simply his own.

Just like his son Rembrandt who created bronze sculptures of marvelous animals without ever traveling, Carlo Bugatti has always stayed in Italy or France. Despite this, his artwork is imbued with an imaginary, a taste of elsewhere that makes dream the population at the end of the 19th century.

The singularity of the works of Bugatti made him a highly collected artist since 1900. Today, his pieces can be found in many museums around the world.