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True believers bid Bugatti’s Sacred Baboon to Fr3.15m

24 July 2000Written by ATG Reporter

FRANCE: REMBRANDT Bugatti, the sculptor brother from the famous racing car family, has been a major saleroom force for some years and there is no stopping him at the moment to judge by recent sales in Paris.

His Grand Faon (Large Faun), 19in (49cm) tall, original Hebrard lost wax casting made Fr550,000 (£52,900) at Tajan on June 22. His Babouin Sacré Hamadryas (1910), in a lost wax casting by Hébrard numbered 8 (from an original series of ten), 17in (43cm) high, hit a top-estimate Fr3.15m (£303,000).

This appears to be a consistent price level for this figure – another example sold at Kohn Art last June for Fr2.8m (then £280,000) and another hit £305,000 at Christie’s in London in November.

Bugatti occasionally turned his attention to the human figure, as shown here by a Femme en Robe, 2ft 3in (69cm) tall, and signed on the base with a dedication à Mademoiselle Decori, that sold for Fr480,000 (£46,200).

Bugatti’s Petites Antilopes – a bronze group 9in (23cm) tall, showing two antelopes and subtitled The Sick Mother – rated Fr370,000 (£35,600) at Gros-Delettrez on June 26, where his Léopard Marchant, 71/2 x 19in (19 x 49cm), with black and dark green patina, also cast by Hébrard (numbered A3), padded over estimate to Fr1m (£96,000).

At the same sale, a Chiparus chryselephantine statuette, 22in (55cm) high, of the goddess Shiva sitting cross-legged on a fancy onyx base, each hand supporting an ivory pendant, sold over hopes for Fr1.16m (£111,500).

Pick of the furniture was Pierre Legrain’s unsigned, cubist-style settee with chamois lacquer featuring red tortoiseshell highlights, that sold well at Fr2.2m (£211,500) despite slight chips to the lacquer.

A parchment-covered oak commode by André Arbus and Vadim Andrusov, with two doors covered in square plaques of brown tortoiseshell, confirmed the current interest in Arbus by doubling estimate with Fr1m (£96,000). This was a variant on a model made for the Minister of Agriculture around 1936, and was fronted by a patinated bronze Medusa mask.

A slender-shafted patinated bronze standing lamp 5ft (1.53m) tall, designed by Alberto and Diego Giacometti and Jean-Michel Frank, also around 1936, scored Fr1.1m (£106,000).

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ATG Reporter

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