Boniface de Castellane

Tuesday, April 23rd 2024

by Rembrandt Bugatti

Rembrandt Bugatti (Milan, 1884 - Paris, 1916)

Boniface, Marquis de Castellane, ca. 1912

Bronze with brownish patina.
Signed "R. BUGATTI" on the base

H. 76 cm.

Provenance: private collection of the Rhône Valley.
Art Loss Register Certificate dated April 10, 2024.
Plaster exhibited in 1912, at Salon de la Société nationale des Beaux-Arts, Paris.

Certificate and recommendation for inclusion into the Répertoire Rembrandt Bugatti established by Ms Véronique Fromanger on Feb. 27, 2024.


Véronique Fromanger, "Une trajectoire foudroyante ; Rembrandt Bugatti", les Éditions de l'Amateur, 2016. See p.183. "Plâtre, collection particulière. Fonte Albino Palazzolo: en l'état des connaissances, sous toutes réserves, le tirage en bronze répertorié à ce jour est d'un exemplaire."

Bugatti's Boni, by Véronique Fromanger

In 1912, young Italian sculptor Rembrandt Bugatti wrote to his brother Ettore "[...] you can use my workshop whenever you like and for as long as you like. I'm surprised about the bust of the Prince: it's been ready for a long time and you can tell him on my behalf to go and get it, and that he doesn't have to pay anything [...]". He’s talking about the portrait of Prince Paolo Troubetzkoy, who was introduced to Parisian social life during the Belle Époque by the impertinent, eccentric, haughty and profound aesthetes that were Count Robert de Montesquiou and Marquis Boniface de Castellane.

The fascination exerted by these great aristocrats on their contemporaries turned them into models for numerous novel heroes; Marcel Proust said that they were "the beauty teachers for an entire generation". An intimate of the Bugatti family since Milan, Paolo Troubetzkoy guided Rembrandt Bugatti through the salons of Paris; during a brief stay, before returning to the Antwerp zoo to his good friends the wild animals, Bugatti produced a few rare portraits. All were cast in bronze, in one single edition, by the undisputed master of lost-wax casting: A. A. Hébrard.

At the time of the Belle Époque, ladies invited artists, poets and other personalities to balls so as to add glamour to their luxurious receptions. It was there that Bugatti met one of these amazing characters and, during a private visit, sculpted an outstanding portrait of Marquis Boniface de Castellane in his hunting costume; with a single line, Bugatti captured the soul of this great lord. An aesthete and a collector, Boniface de Castellane always took great care of his appearance. Even in the face of adversity, he always endeavored to remain worthy of his most illustrious ancestor, Talleyrand. Politically very active, he was also a great sportsman.
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