M. Maire, Épinal (acquired in 1926)
Private Collection, Italy
Sladmore Gallery, London
Acquired from the above in 2003
Marcel Schiltz, Rembrandt Bugatti (exhibition catalogue), Antwerp, 1955, illustration of another cast p.57
Umberto di Cristina, Bugatti: Carlo, Rembrandt, Ettore: I mobile, I soprammobili, le automobile (exhibition catalogue), Rome, 1976, illustration of the plaster p. 12
Mary Harvey, The Bronzes of Rembrandt Bugatti (1885-1916): An Illustrated Catalogue and Biography, London, 1979, pp. 18 & 23
Philippe Dejean, Carlo, Rembrandt, Ettore, Jean Bugatti, Paris, 1981, illustration of another cast p. 210
Victoria Sandwick Schmitt, Four Centuries of Sporting Art: Selections from The John L. Wehle Collection, Gallery of Sporting Art, Genesee Country Museum, Mumford, New York, 1984, illustration of another cast p. 141
Jacques Chalom des Cordes & Véronique Fromanger des Cordes, Rembrandt Bugatti, Catalogue raisonné, Paris, 1987, illustration of another cast pp. 232-233
Bernard Lamarche-Vadel, ed., Bugatti, les meubles, Bugatti, les sculptures, Bugatti, les autos, Paris, 1995, p. 131
Henry H. Hawley, Bugatti (exhibition catalogue), The Cleveland Museum of Art, 1999, illustration of another cast p. 70
Edward Horswell, Rembrandt Bugatti, Life in Sculpture, London, 2004, illudytsyrf pp. 208-09 and illustrations of another cast pp. 11, 17, 252, 255 & 265
Véronique Fromanger, Rembrandt Bugatti Sculpteur- Répertoire monographique, Paris, 2009, no. 234, illustration of another cast pp.164, 171 & 310
The Grand Babouin sacré "hamadryas", also known as Singe cynocéphale, is among Bugatti's most celebrated sculptures. This extraordinary creature was one of the last major pieces that Bugatti created before his tragic death in 1916. The form of the animal, positioned characteristically on all fours, is suprisingly modern given the artist's faithful attention to the nuances of the simian form. With its muscular bodily contours, Bugatti's sophisticated rendering here presages the angular façades of urban Art Deco architecture in the 1920s and 1930s and the planar formalism of Cubism during the war.
Bugatti was unique among modernist sculptors in focusing on depictions of exotic animals. He was so fascinated by these creatures and their behavioral nuances that he studied them in person as much as he could, working primarily outdoors at the Jardin Zoologique in Antwerp after moving to the city in 1907. He rendered his figures in plastiline, a typical Italian modeling clay, using strokes of his thumbs. Following completion of his models, he worked with the Hébrard foundry with the aid of chief founder Albino Palazzolo, who cast the finished sculptures in bronze.
The present bronze is numbered 8 of only 11 recorded bronze casts created of this majestic figure of a baboon. Other casts of this work are in the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. The plaster cast of the model was donated by the founder Adrien Hébrard to the National Gallery of Modern Art in Rome in 1924.
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