Born to Bugatti

Michael Furman Photography

An artistic treasure trove from automotive royalty at the Mullin Automotive Museum.

 

Before 1998, when the Volkswagen Group revived the name for its line of seven-figure supercars, Bugatti was synonymous with the exclusive, high-performance cars that Ettore Bugatti and his son Jean manufactured in the early 1900s.

But the entire Bugatti family had deep artistic talent. This spring, the Mullin Automotive Museum in Oxnard, California, hosts the world’s largest collection of their creative works.

In addition to dozens of Ettore and Jean’s automobiles, the exhibition, which runs through December, will display more than 50 pieces of furniture by patriarch Carlo Bugatti, who studied at the Académie des Beaux Arts in Paris. (The Turkish Salon at the Waldorf Astoria in New York was furnished with his work.)

There will also be numerous sculptures by Carlo’s son Rembrandt, best known for his bronze sculptures of exotic animals and his later, lightly abstract pieces. (Given his name, it seems destined that he’d become an artist, despite his father’s early expectation that he would be an engineer.)

The exhibit simultaneously explores the fine, decorative-art movements—Beaux Arts, Art Nouveau, Arts and Crafts—that reacted to (and often against) growing industrialization, before they were integrated more honestly and rationally into modern design forms, as they were in Bugatti automobiles. At 1421 Emerson Ave.; mullinautomotivemuseum.com.

Pictured: Type 46 Bugatti Cabriolet, 1930