Under Arthur Rimbaud's illuminated gaze by Fernand Léger, a young stag by Rembrandt Bugatti frolicked in a flowery field woven by Dom Robert.
Rembrandt Bugatti (1884-1916), Le Jeune cerf se grattant le cou, c. 1906, bronze proof with black patina, Hébrard lost wax casting, no. 2 of a limited edition of five, h. around 25 cm (9.8 in), base: 32 x 11.5 cm/12.6 x 4.5 in.
It would be hard to find a more charming trio than these three names and works of art, brought together here by the miracle of the auction. On a millefleurs background woven in 1966 in the Tabard Frères et Sœurs workshop in Aubusson, based on a cartoon by Dom Robert (1907-1997), roosters, bees and butterflies are seen happily foraging. This wool tapestry with its lively colors fetched €45,080.
Le Jeune cerf se grattant le cou (Young Deer Scratching its Neck, reproduced above) seems to have sprung straight from this lavish decor, like all those indifferent to the tumult of the world. Sculpted by Rembrandt Bugatti in c. 1906 and cast by Hebrard in a limited edition of six (the Musée d'Orsay has a plaster version), this young stag calmly accepted a bid of €177,744. The pose and gesture make it so charming and give it an incredibly spontaneous feel. Unlike his felines, which he imbued with a deep hieraticism, the sculptor expressed much tenderness in his deer: a large family he often depicted.
Arthur Rimbaud was also born in the heart of a forest, in Ardenne, in 1854. Almost 100 years later, in 1948, Fernand Léger was commissioned to illustrate an edition of Illuminations, Rimbaud's most extraordinary collection of poems, which he wrote in a new language. This luxury edition published in Lausanne the following year by Gaules contains 15 lithographs, almost all colored with stencils. The painter based the frontispiece on a photograph taken by Etienne Carjat in October 1871. He gives the poet the same clear, faraway gaze, and the same wind-blown lock. He also repeats details in the clothing, like the bow adorning the collar. Here, the original gouache of the image was on offer. The ever-watchful Rimbaud Museum in Charleville-Mézières seized its chance and pre-empted it for €19,320. The work now joins a substantial collection, regularly swelled thanks to the voluntarist policy carried out by the conservation department with support from the City.