by Lauren Stewart-Ebert
Carlo Bugatti was born on February 16, 1856 in Milan, Italy.
Bugatti studied at the Brera Academy and the Académie des Beaux Arts in Paris in the 1870’s and began manufacturing furniture only ten years later in both Milan and Paris.
|Bench by Carlo Bugatti, 1900. Stained wood, pewter, inlaid copper and vellum details.|
In 1880 he married Teresa Loriole and, over the course of the next several years, they had three children, Ettore, Deanice, and Rembrandt.
During this time Bugatti and family entertained a number of art world heavyweights including the composer Giacomo Puccini and the painter Giovanni Segantini.
|The Snail Room, by Carlo Bugatti, 1902. Oak, vellum, and bronze.|
|Chair from the Snail Room|
Although Bugatti worked with ceramics, silverware, and textiles, his true calling was furniture designs. His first show was at the 1888 Fine Arts Fair in Milan. Later that year he had his first international showing at the Italian Exhibition in London.
|Cabinet by Carlo Bugatti, 1900. Walnut, tin, brass, parchment, ivory and ebony inlay.|
His elaborate inlays with exotic wood, parchment, copper and mother of pearl were a huge success and he was awarded an honorary prize.
|Asymmetric chair by Carlo Bugatti, 1902. Walnut, copper applications, pewter, mahogany and copper inlay, hand painted vellum, and silk tassels.|
|Chair by Carlo Bugatti, 1902. Walnut, vellum, copper, and silk tassles.|
|Double-sided desk by Carlo Bugatti, 1900. Walnut, vellum, pewter inlay, and repousse copper.
Sold at auction for $1.56 million.
|Coffee table in the style of Carlo Bugatti, circa 1950. Burled ash with tulipwood inlay.|
Bugatti began showing worldwide and creating lavish interiors such as the Waldorf Astoria’s Turkish Salon.
|The Waldorf-Astoria in New York City|
He was awarded the silver medal at the Paris World Fair for his designs.
In 1904, Bugatti solid his Milan studio and moved to Paris with his family. There he worked with large department stores such as Maison Dufavel and Au Bon Marché.
When his youngest son, Rembrandt, committed suicide in 1916, Bugatti withdrew from public life. However, he continued to work privately and spent much of his time painting.
In 1935, Bugatti formally retired from the world of design.
By this time his son Ettore had come into his own right by founding the auto company bearing his family name. Bugatti spent the last years of his life with his son Ettore at the Chateau Saint Jean, the home of the Bugatti automobile company.
|1937 Bugatti Type 37SC Atalante Coupe. Sold at auction for $7.92 million.|
|Bugatti Type SC Atlantic from the Ralph Lauren Collection|
Carlo Bugatti died in April of 1940 at the hospital in Molsheim. He is buried in the Bugatti family cemetery at Dorlisheim.
|The Chateau Saint Jean in the early 1900’s|
|The Chateau Saint Jean as it stands today|