By Anne Leader

Sculptor Rembrandt Bugatti was born on 16 October 1884 or 1885 in Milan. From a family of artists, Rembrandt is known for his sculptures of animals, most famously for the rearing elephant he created to serve as the radiator cap for the Bugatti Royale (Type 41) designed by his brother Ettore. Despite the whimsical nature of his subjects, both wild and domestic animals, Bugatti suffered depression and committed suicide at age 31 in 1916. His sadness was likely brought on by the forced execution during World War I of many of the animals resident at the Antwerp Zoo. Given a studio by zoo officials in 1907, Bugatti had used many of the Antwerp animals as his models. Bugatti also suffered financial difficulties, which likely contributed to his tragic decision to end his life.

Elephant Radiator Cap

Elephant Radiator Cap, before 1916

Mon Chien, 1905, bronze

Bouledogue français, 1905, bronze

Reference: Henry Hawley and Saverio Simi de Burgis. “Bugatti.” Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online. Oxford University Press. .

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