Bugatti’s ‘Trois panthères marchant’ sells for record-breaking sum

Trois panthères marchant

Rembrandt Bugatti’s 1905 bronze Trois panthères marchant sold for the record sum of €3,678,400 at a recent Impressionist and Modern art auction hosted by Bonhams in Paris earlier this month. 

The piece was one of 69 lots sold by the auction house on 5th June, and it smashed all previous records for any of Bugatti’s other works.  

The troubled Italian artist, the brother of the automobile world’s Ettore Bugatti, is considered one of the most important sculptors of the early 20th century. Only a handful of pieces known to have been created by Bugatti are in existence, due in part to his life being cut tragically short by his suicide at the age of 31.  

A common theme among his precious creations is wildlife. Bugatti was particularly fond of exotic animals and panthers were one of his favourite subjects, with the artist quoted as once having called them his “companions in life and work”. 

He became acquainted with these majestic cats at the Jardin des Plantes in Paris, and it is said he felt a kinship to these animals. He observed them daily, working from vantage points where he could watch unnoticed.  

Speaking about the sale of Bugatti’s Trois panthères marchant in early June, Bénédicte van Campen, Bonhams’ Senior International Specialist, said, “This is the strongest result for a work by Rembrandt Bugatti ever seen at auction. Featured on the cover of the catalogue raisonné of the artist’s work, written by Véronique Fromanger, this unique piece is the most iconic sculpture by the artist, exceptional by its size and its beautiful patina.” 

The total sales for the day came to €5.2 million. Among the lots that sold was a rare early Picasso landscape from 1900, El campanar de l’esglesia del Pi, which went for €762,400, and a pencil drawing, Étude de crânes, montre molle, fontaine, soulier et main, by Salvador Dalí, which sold for €53,740.  

Read related:

Monaco Auction Week returning in July with exquisite accessories and rare collectors’ items


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Photo source: Bonhams