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Discover Ettore Bugatti's rich and unique legacy
The BUGATTI brand originated from a family of artists, making it unique in the automotive world.
All four of the major figures in the company’s history – Carlo, Rembrandt, Ettore and Jean – were blessed with extraordinary artistic talent and craftsmanship. This talent brought the whole family together and laid the foundation for the brand values that define BUGATTI to this day.
The furniture designer
Carlo Bugatti (1856–1940) was born in Milan, Italy. He inherited the artistic talent of his father, Giovanni, an architect and sculptor, and became an internationally renowned artist and designer himself. After completing his studies in Milan and Paris, he came to prominence with designs for architecture, interiors, ceramics and musical instruments. However, he was most famous for the Art Nouveau furniture that he designed in his Milan studio “Fabbrica Mobili Artistici Fantasia”. The Bugatti family home provided a stimulating and artistically inspiring environment, whose key values included freedom of individual expression and the open exchange of ideas.
Rembrandt Bugatti (1884–1916) was Carlo Bugatti’s second son. Influenced by the artistic environment of his childhood and adolescence, Rembrandt became a highly talented sculptor who was especially famed for his bronze sculptures of animals.
His work combines extraordinary craftsmanship with natural beauty and vivid expression. The silver radiator cap on the Bugatti Royale is based on one of his works, “the dancing elephant”. When the animals in Antwerp Zoo were killed during the First World War, Rembrandt Bugatti became severely depressed and took his own life at the age of 31 as a result.
Ettore Arco Isidoro Bugatti (1881–1947) was the founder and patron of the Bugatti automotive brand. The oldest son of Carlo Bugatti – an Italian by birth who later took French citizenship – he trained himself as a car manufacturer and engineer. By the time he founded his own car company in Molsheim, in the region of Alsace, France, in 1909, he had already designed several vehicles and engines. However, it was only with the founding of the racing tradition, that began during his lifetime, that his true genius was revealed. The cars that were named after him became synonymous with cutting-edge technology, perfect craftsmanship, timeless form and outstanding motorsport success.
Jean Maria Carlo Bugatti (1909–1939), Ettore’s eldest son, displayed great interest in his father’s profession from a very young age. At the age of 26, he was put in charge of key projects at the family business in Molsheim. He had an exceptional sense for modern style, which perfectly complemented the technical genius of his father and was a major factor in making Bugatti into one of the big names in automotive history. His style provided the basis for legendary classic models such as the Type 50 Superprofilée, the Type 55 Super Sport and the Type 57S Atlantic.
Jean – on whose shoulders all hopes for Bugatti’s future rested – tragically died during a test drive in 1939.