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Alte Nationalgalerie Berlin opens first major museum exhibition of the work of Rembrandt Bugatti
Rembrandt Bugatti. Running Panther (Panthère marchant), c. 1904. Bronze, 21 x 53 x 12 cm. Private collection. Photo: Peter John Gates.

BERLIN.- From March 28 to July 27, 2014 the Alte Nationalgalerie Berlin presents the first large museum solo show of the sculptor Rembrandt Bugatti (1884–1916) showing around 100 works; it thus paves the way to a brilliant rediscovery of this artist.

Rembrandt Bugatti is one of the most remarkable and artistically independent sculptors of the early 20th century. Brother of the legendary designer of motorcars, Bugatti produced an oeuvre comprising more than 300 works during his short life, unparalleled in terms of intensity and diversity of form. The exhibition in the Alte Nationalgalerie is showing more than 100 works in all floors of the museum.

Even though very successful during his lifetime and still being much in demand by enthusiastic collectors all over the world, Rembrandt Bugatti is still largely unknown to the public. Museums in Paris, Washington and Antwerp have agreed to lend works to the exhibition. The majority of the works on show comes, however, from international private collections which are displaying their treasures publicly for the first time in the Nationalgalerie.

Born in Milan as son of the furniture designer Carlo Bugatti, his talent was discovered and fostered from early on. As a young man Rembrandt Bugatti had already found the subject of his life's work, the animal. While at first predominantly depicting cattle he later found more exotic models in the zoological gardens in Paris and in Antwerp: With Bugatti, animals such as anteaters, tapirs, marabous as well as yaks, secretary-birds and kangaroos are introduced as subjects for sculpture for the first time in the European history of art.

Following a phase of intensive observation he modelled almost all his sculptures directly in front of the animal itself. Bugatti's extraordinary sense for the “right moment” enabled him to capture the essence of the animal's being in a sculpture and thus create incredibly realistic portraits of individual animals – he was always trying to achieve an accurate record of the characteristics, the movements and sensations of his model. Thanks to his collaboration with the bronze caster Adrien-Aurélien Hébrard excellent bronze casts of his works became part of many collections. Deeply distressed by the First World War Bugatti committed suicide in Paris 1916. He was only 31 years old.

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