Rembrandt Bugatti’s Hungry Lioness

On 17 May 2021, by Caroline Legrand

Bidders had the choice between a bronze lioness cast by Hébrard, abstract paintings, designer objects and collector cars.

Rembrandt Bugatti (1884-1916), Lionne dévorant (Devouring Lioness), bronze with brown and green-shaded polychrome patina, signed "RBUGATTI" on the base, founder’s mark "Cire perdue A.A. HÉBRARD", numbered "A-1", 17 x 71 x 22 cm/6.69 x 27.95 x 8.66 in, weight 10.7 kg/23.59 lbs.
Result: €268,750

The appearance on the market of a Rembrandt Bugatti bronze belonging to a first edition cast between 1904 and 1934 by his exclusive founder, Adrien-Aurélien Hébrard, was bound to cause a stir. The work, which boasts a crystal-clear history, went under the hammer for the first time. A French collector paid €268,750 for Lionne dévorant (Devouring Lioness), a piece from very early on in Bugatti’s career: he had just turned 20. Bugatti sculpted the beast with brisk movements that express the full measure of its power. The Musée d'Orsay has a plaster model of a Devouring Lion made between 1904 and 1912. Such a depiction of the predator is relatively rare for the artist, who preferred to portray his felines in a more placid light.

A work by Philippine artist Oscar Zalameda drew much interest from his compatriots. Abstraction en rouge (Abstraction in Red), the most coveted of his six paintings, which totaled €96,125, fetched €38,750 (81 x 100 cm/31.89 x 39.37 in). Zalameda, who studied in San Francisco before attending the École des Beaux-arts in Paris, became famous in the 1960s, creating vibrant mosaics of colors in superimposed planes. The sale also featured furniture and collector cars. André Sornay’s creations stood out, including a dresser cabinet and a set of Oregon pine chairs that fetched €14,375. A 1949 Delahaye 135 M cabriolet did not find a buyer, but a 1987 Porsche 911 Carrera 3.2 did at €69,711, thanks to its entirely original features, from the seats to the engine and metallic gray paint.

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