The world of the automobile would be significantly poorer without the legacy of Ettore Bugatti. Just the 1924 Type 35 confirms this but Bugatti’s legendary vision also obscures other facets of the family’s creativity, which a new retrospective at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, California aims to address. Yes, there is more to the Bugatti name than Ettore and more to that legacy than beautiful cars.
Set to open to the public October 23, “The Art of Bugatti” is as much a showcase of fine art, sculpture and furnishings as it is of the engineering genius that made cars such as the 1927 Bugatti 35C unbeatable on the track.
“The Bugattis were an incredibly fascinating family and their history, like all families, is filled with both triumph and tragedy,” said Peter Mullin, chairman of the board of directors for the Petersen.
Ettore is indeed the most conventionally famous Bugatti, thanks to those superlative automotive designs and the legacy of the same, kept alive by hypercars such as the Bugatti Veyron and the new Chiron – both of which will be on display. But this Italian-born family was overflowing with artistic capability.
“Their incredible aptitude for art and engineering is unparalleled by any family before or since and their legacy is worthy of celebration,” explained Mullin, who is providing several classic Bugattis from his personal collection for the year-long retrospective. “It’s a great honor to share these works with the public.”
“The Art of Bugatti” begins its journey with a look at the life of Carlo Bugatti – Ettore’s father – including the skills he mastered, from fine art to furniture design, before showcasing the work of his children and grandchildren.
“The Art of Bugatti is a show unlike any other,” said Petersen Executive Director Terry Karges. “The quality and variety of the art and automobiles on display is incredible and it truly gives a unique insight into the history of a fascinating and talented family. Art of Bugatti is an exhibition that isn’t to be missed.”
And that is true simply for the show’s automotive content. Vehicles on display will include a Type 41 Royale, Type 57 Atalante, Type 35 and Type 46, in addition to the ill-fated EB110 (1991-1995) and the aforementioned Chiron. Each model was chosen because of the role it played in the company’s or the wider automotive industry’s evolution.
The exhibition will receive its grand gala premiere on October 22, hosted by British comedian, actor and talk show host, James Corden, before opening officially to the public on October 23.