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Roaring in Bugatti's Cage

Published on , by Anne Doridou-Heim

Though Bugatti particularly relished depicting the elegance of the panther and cheetah and the dynamic energy of the tiger, the Italian sculptor did...

Roaring in Bugatti's Cage
Rembrandt Bugatti (1884-1916), "Crouching Lion in the act of devouring", c. 1908, bronze proof with shaded brown patina, period lost wax casting by Albino Palazzolo for Hébrard, numbered "2", 26 x 91 x 36 cm (detail).
Result: €806,000

Though Bugatti particularly relished depicting the elegance of the panther and cheetah and the dynamic energy of the tiger, the Italian sculptor did not neglect the king of beasts and his superb physique. As witness the €806,000 pounced upon by this "Crouching lion in the act of devouring", modelled in around 1908 before being duly cast by the Hébrard foundry, and here, more precisely, by Albino Palazzolo. This extremely rare model, of which only three proofs were cast, comes from the former collection of a philanthropist and entrepreneur of Reims, and shows a highly original "bestial" theme in Bugatti's output, as the big cat is shown devouring its prey. An unusual subject with the artist, mainly occupying him between 1908 and 1912, which does not feature in the first fifty works referenced on the Artnet site. These include the sleek "Nubian lioness", the touching "Lion cub with a hare between its paws ", the playful "Lioness and ball" and the "Nubian lion and lioness" – but no scenes of feasting… So the carnivore made a striking entrance, here!

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