Carlo Bugatti (1856 – 1902), Frame
Frame in vellum, hammered copper, pewter, walnut, beechwood, and ebonized beechwood, cm 160 x 200.
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Impressioni d’Oriente. Arte e collezionismo tra Europa e Giappone, Milan, Mudec – Museo delle Culture, 1st October 2019 – 2nd February 2020
Impressioni d’Oriente. Arte e collezionismo tra Europa e Giappone, catalogue, curated by Flemming Friborg and Paola Zatti, of exhibition held at Mudec – Museo delle Culture in Milan, from 1st Ocotber 2019 to 2nd February 2020, 24ore Cultura, Milano, p. 177
Born in Milan in 1856, died in Molsheim, Alsace in 1940, Carlo Bugatti reached such a celebrity that, to the queen of Italy, who came to the Turin exhibition in 1902 to compliment the furniture he created in the “Moorish” style, Bugatti had the audacity to answer “You’re wrong, Majesty, this is my style!”. He had three sons, two of whom eclipsed, when the artist was still alive and to this day, his fame: Rembrandt Bugatti, animal sculptor and Ettore Bugatti, automobile manufacturer. Starting from his early Milan, around 1880, his first successes, far from Italy, in 1888, his triumph in 1902 at the famous Turin exhibition and his arrival in Paris in 1904, until his retirement at Pierrefonds in 1910, Carlo Bugatti’s artistic and industrial career is characterized by a multifaceted flexibility shown in the various fields of application: decorator and architect, designer and furniture manufacturer, creator of goldsmith’s articles, inventor of instruments or even a racing bicycle.
The “industrial” production of Carlo Bugatti is based on an exotic, oriental or even oriental inspiration, certainly Japanese. The works produced by Bugatti obtained a great success: the magazines of the time published the various models of his furniture, as well as the photographs of the interior decorations, now disappeared. Further proof of the uniqueness of his artistic research is demonstrated by the frame presented here, where the polymaterialism – parchment, hammered copper, pewter, walnut, beech wood and ebonized beech – and the coexistence of exotic elements – Moorish and Japanese – make it a of the most amazing works produced by the Bugatti laboratory, a creative experimentation center in which craftsmanship joined the industrial production in a happy marriage that was able to anticipate the modern concept of design, giving life to a personal artistic language free from any aesthetic conditioning.
His works are preserved in numerous internationally renowned museums, including the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Museum of Decorative Arts of the Castello Sforzesco in Milan, the Metropolitan Museum and the Brooklyn Museum in New York, Montreal’s Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and the Miami Wolfson Collection.