Dragonfly Bowl


Carlo Bugatti was born in Milan, Italy in 1856. The information about his start in life, and many details are hard to authenticate, with much coming from his granddaughter L’Ebe. His father was Giovanni Luigi Bugatti who is known to have made chimneys and studied perpetual motion, common at the time, but unfruitful. His sister was Luigia, known as Bice, who married painter Giovanni Segantini, a friend and mentor of Carlo, and then son Rembrandt. Carlo studied at the Brera Academy in Milan and then at the Académie des Beaux Arts in Paris. 

He began making furniture in Milan around 1880, which would become more and more ornate as he went on. His impressive furniture career hit its height after the First International Exposition of Modern Decorative Arts in Turin in 1902, where he displayed four full rooms. Thereafter, he began creating impressive pieces to be cast in silver. 

In 1906, a deal was initiated with the Hébrard Foundry which would execute the casting of Carlos pieces, often in silver, as well as the touching up of works by his son Rembrandt. In 1907, an exhibition was held at Hébrard which included 27 silver pieces by Carlo, almost half of the 60 pieces being exhibited. 

Several of his silver tea sets were displayed at Hébrard, which were commissioned by South African widow Anna Blake. He drew three very different tea sets for her to choose from and she commissioned all three. One was of boars heads with ivory handles, a second features ivory handles with the dragonfly motif, and the third also had dragonfly styling with silver handles. He used the dragonfly motif in many of his pieces, including sketches for jewelry, a hair comb, and a pendant. He exhibited silver pieces annually at the Salons of Europe from 1907-1911. 

This Dragonfly footed bowl features the dragonfly motif with the wings surrounding the edges of the bowl with what appears to be heads used as the feet. Carlo moved to Pierrefonds in Oise, France in 1910 and was nominated as the Mayor from 1914-1918, and he passed away in 1940 in Molsheim, France.