Templeton Crocker, San Francisco (acquired in 1922)
Corporate Collection, United States (sold: Sotheby's New York, December 12, 2003, lot 531)
Sladmore Gallery, London (acquired at the above sale)
Acquired from the above in 2004
Philippe Dejean, Carlo, Rembrandt, Ettore, Jean Bugatti, New York, 1982, illustration of another cast p. 160
Edward Horswell, Rembrandt Bugatti -- Life in Sculpture, London, 2004, illustrated pp. 12, 183 & on the back cover
Jacques Chalom des Cordes & Véronique Fromanger des Cordes, Rembrandt Bugatti, Catalogue raisonné, Paris, 1987, illustration of another cast p. 246
Véronique Fromanger, Rembrandt Bugatti, Sculpteur - Répertoire Monographique, Paris, 2009, no. 232, illustration of another cast p. 309
The elegant form of the lioness on the prowl is the subject of Bugatti's sculpture from 1909-10. Like her male companion, the lioness stands alert with her gaze darting forward, and Bugatti renders the linear beauty of her smooth flesh and musculature as if he could himself feel the creature with his bare hands. The subject of the lioness was one which Bugatti contemplated repeatedly throughout his brief career. A careful drawing that predates the present work demonstrates how the body and mannerisms of the animal fascinated him years before he was ever to render the three-dimensional form.
Edward Horswell has written the following about Bugatti's Nubian lions, particularly calling attention to their regal presence: "Sharing something of the brilliant stylisation of Bugatti's Anteater and Baboon, these works have a majesty and poignancy that mark them amongst Bugatti's 'stand-alone' masterpieces. The almost robotic power of the female (the principal hunter in lion society), and the heavy vigilance of the male, evoke a mesmerising presence, close to that of a carved King and Queen from Ancient Egypt. The psychological depth of Bugatti's animals has ever been equalled. At the same time they stand as authoritative and unsentimental statements of anatomical observation, documentary record and aesthetic accomplishment."
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