Inscribed with the signature R. Bugatti, stamped with the foundry mark A.A. Hébrard Cire Perdue and numbered A5
Sale: Galerie Motte, Geneva, June 28, 1968
Acquired by the present owner circa 1968
Philippe Dejean, Carlo, Rembrandt, Ettore, Jean Bugatti, Paris, 1981, illustration of another cast pp. 146-147 (titled Great Stylized Tiger)
Jacques Chalom des Cordes & Véronique Fromanger des Cordes, Rembrandt Bugatti, Catalogue raisonné, Paris, 1987, illustration of another cast pp. 306-307 (titled Grand Tigre Royal)
Henry H. Hawley, Bugatti (exhibition catalogue), The Cleveland Museum of Art, 1999, illustration of another cast p. 78
Edward Horswell, Rembrandt Bugatti, Life in Sculpture, London, 2004, illustration of another cast pp. 175, 188-189 & 268
The impressive Grand tigre royal is Bugatti's definitive sculpture, created in the last years of his life. Portraying the animal on the prowl and with his fangs exposed in mid-roar, Bugatti conveys the power of the regal beast with extraordinary accuracy. Fierceness and strength exude from this wild cat, from the curve of the tail, to the contours of the limbs. More so than any other sculpture from Bugatti's oeuvre, this work is a testament to the artist's keen powers of observation.
Bugatti was unique among modernist sculptors in focusing on depictions of wild animals. So fascinated was he by this subject that he worked primarily outdoors at the Jardin Zoologique in Antwerp after moving to the city in 1907 so that he could study the nuances of animal behavior. He rendered his figures in plastiline, a typical Italian modeling clay, using strokes of his thumbs, and working with the Hébrard foundry with the aid of chief founder Albino Palazzolo, who cast the finished works in bronze.
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