Rembrandt Bugatti (1884 - 1916), Éléphant de l'Inde au feuillage (Gros éléphant jouant). photo courtesy Sotheby's
Bronze. Conceived circa 1909-10 and cast between 1909 and 1925 as number 2 in an edition of 5. Inscribed with the signature R. Bugatti, stamped with the foundry mark A. A. Hébrard Cire Perdue and numbered 2; height: 24 in. (61 cm) - Estimate 900,000—1,200,000 USD. Lot Sold ,142,500 USD
PROVENANCE: Galerie A.A. Hébrard, Paris
Sale: Christie's, London, April 30, 1997
The Sladmore Gallery, London
Acquired from the above
LITERATURE AND REFERENCES: Rassegna d'Arte Antica e Moderna, 1915, illustration of another cast
Mark Harvey, The Bronzes of Rembrandt Bugatti, London, 1979, nos. 38a & 38b, illustrations of another cast p. 41
Philippe Dejean, Jacques Boulay, Nadine Coleno & Uwe Hucke, Carlo-Rembrandt-Ettore-Jean Bugatti, New York, 1982, illustration of another cast p. 203
Jacques Chalom des Cordes & Véronique Fromanger des Cordes, Rembrandt Bugatti, Catalogue raisonné, Paris, 1987, illustration of another cast p. 244
Edward Horswell, Rembrandt Bugatti, Life in Sculpture, London, 2004, illustrated pp. 191-192
Véronique Fromanger, Rembrandt Bugatti - Sculpteur, Répertoire Monographique, Paris, 2009, no. 248, illustration of another cast p. 315
NOTE: Draped in an elaborate garland of vines, Eléphant de l'Inde au feuillage is the most impressive among Bugatti's representations of this regal mammal. According to Edward Horswell, this sculpture is Bugatti's "definitive statement of the meditative sobriety and dignity of the animal" (E. Horswell, op. cit., p. 193).
A cast of Eléphant de l'Inde au feuillage was once in the collection of Louis Comfort Tiffany, whose stained glass lamps bear a design patterning similar to that of the vines. Bugatti paid particular attention to the texture of this sculpture, using tools to create grooves on the animal's flesh and small pellets of clay to model the overlapping leaves. The indentations and the general textural variations of the surface allowed for the richly nuanced patina that appears on the present bronze. The modeling of the animal also evidences Bugatti's sensitivity to avant-garde design, particularly in his elegant positioning of the animal's trunk as it curls sleekly around the front leg.
Sotheby's. Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale. 02 Nov 10 New York www.sothebys.com