c. 1895

designed by

Carlo Bugatti

(Italian, 1856-1940)

Wood with metal inlays and painted parchment, glass doors and mirror

Overall: 224.5 x 141 x 55.3 cm (88 3/8 x 55 1/2 x 21 3/4 in.)

Gift of Barry Friedman and Patricia Pastor, New York 1984.177


This cabinet is typical Bugatti. In form it is asymmetrical, with a towerlike element at one side. There are Islamic-inspired ornaments in its design, notably the onion-shaped arches in the upper stage. Japanese influence is evident in the white metal inlays and, even more clearly, in the sepia-painted parchment panels in the lower portion of the cabinet. One of these, at the bottom left, is signed "Casati." No contemporary painter with this name has been discovered, but the Marchesa Luisa Casati, a well-known socialite in Milan, is known to have been an acquaintance of Carlo Bugatti. Although she is not recorded as having been a painter, she may have decorated this cabinet, or was possibly its original owner.
The cabinet displays an extensive vocabulary of other decorative devices, including the ebonizing of part of its wooden frame, the turned and shaped wooden ornaments, repoussé metal reliefs, mirrored and green glass, and tassels. Despite their diversity, Bugatti organized all these elements into a coherent design.

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