Updated: Mar 9, 2022
Ettore Bugatti (1881-1947) emerged from an artistic rather than engineering background, and was a perfectionist in all things.
His younger brother, Rembrandt, was an animal sculptor of international repute, and Ettore studied sculpture at the Fine Art Academy at Brera, under the tutelage of Prince Paul Troubetsky. His talent for all things mechanical appears to have developed from a natural gift of observation and persistence.
At the end of the nineteenth century, Ettore took an apprenticeship in motor engineering at cycle manufacturers Prinetti and Stucchi, where he built his first engine-driven tricycle. From there he went on to motor car manufacturing, starting his own factory in Molsheim in 1909. Here he developed increasingly successful cars, both on the racing circuit and on the commercial market.
His philosophy for Bugatti cars was always, he said, “Pure blood (thoroughbred), absolute clarity, predominance of purpose, immaculate shape.” And it was this compulsion with perfection, as well as his love of horses, that led him to describe his cars as “Le Pur Sang des Automobiles.”
This poster is strongly influenced by (some might say ‘stolen from’) the A. M. Cassandre design commissioned by Bugatti in 1925. Cassandre was the pseudonym of Adolphe Jean-Marie Mouron (1901-1968), a Ukrainian born artist of French parents. As a young man he moved to Paris, where he studied at the prestigious Ecole des Beaux-Arts and at the Académie Julian. He became successful enough to start his own advertising agency, Alliance Graphique, picking up a number of well-known clients, including Wagons-Lits.