Carlo Bugatti

Milan 1855 — Molsheim 1940

Carlo Bugatti was distinguished by his unmistakably eclectic style at the end of the 1800s and the early 1900s.

Working in France since 1890, he exhibited in all the major international exhibitions, such as the Universal Exhibitions of Decorative Art in London (1888), in Paris (1900), and in Torino (1902). His work is still on display in leading decorative arts museums around the world.

Bugatti’s works offer a felicitous blend of different styles ranging from Moorish exoticism to Colonial Primitivism and Oriental design, Japonism in particular. His choice of materials reflected this desire to combine different essences and his matching of noble species of wood with painted parchment, precious metals, animal bone, leather, and passamanerie to suit his purposes.
His tavolo (table) in the Carraro Collection provides an example of Bugatti’s subversive creativity. The spiral movement he uses to subvert this daily object’s traditionally static nature bespeaks proto-Futurist influence.

Despite this undeniable success, Bugatti quit Milan due to the rising costs his works demanded, retiring first to Pierrerfonds outside Paris in 1910, then to the factory in Molsheim, Alsace where his son Ettore had begun manufacturing automobiles under the family name. Here, he directed his attention primarily to painting.