Suzanne Lovell Inc


The Refined Whimsy of Lalanne

July 14, 2017

In recent years, fine art fairs have expanded their offerings to meet the varying interests of collectors. Design Furniture is commonly featured at shows so collectors can continue the dialogue of living artistically. Today we feature Claude and Franҫois-Xavier Lalanne, who have embraced the notion of art furniture.

Franҫois-Xavier and wife Claude pose with a flock of moutons de laine, 1965.

Courtesy of Architectural Digest.

Architect Peter Marino—whose forthcoming book The Garden of Peter Marino will include a forward by Claude Lalanne—remembers when François-Xavier asked what was his favorite mythological tale: “Without hesitation, I said, ‘The Golden Fleece,’ and he answered, ‘I shall make you an entire flock.’” 

Quote Courtesy of Architectural Digest.

As the 1965 Salon de la Jeune Peinture in Paris, France, approached, French artist Franҫois-Xavier Lalanne wanted to make create a body of work to be remembered. Les Lalannes, Lalanne and Claude, his wife and artistic partner, have done just that over the years.

Les Lalannes dreamed up a group of surreal-looking sheep. All swaddled in sheepskin, some moutons received patinated bronze faces while others remained headless and functioned as footstools. The hooves of all moutons contained casters for mobility. The moutons welcomed guests into the salon at the Palais de Tokyo exhibition hall. It was here Les Lalannes debuted their art furniture.

Thanks to Architectural Digest.

Lalannes in the Paris library of Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé.

Courtesy of Architectural Digest.

Lalanne stools enjoy the views from singer Andy Williams’s living room.

Courtesy of Architectural Digest.

Les Lalannes, Mouton Transhumant, Epoxy stone and bronze, 37 3/4″ H x 40 1/8″ W x 13 3/4″D.

Image courtesy of Northeast Locavore and details courtesy of Paul Kasmin Gallery.

Today, Les Lalannes is regularly exhibited and remains highly sought after by collectors. Paul Kasmin Gallery in conjunction with The New York City Parks Public Art Program, and in cooperation with the Fund for Park Avenue Sculpture Committee, exhibited works by Le Lalanne in 2009. The exhibit was highly visible as multiple large-scale sculptures spanned the green on Park Avenue between 52nd and 57th Streets. This was the first outdoor exhibition in the U.S. of Claude and Franҫois-Xavier Lalanne’s sculptures.

Les Lalannes, Pomme de New York, 2007, Bronze 98 3/8″ H x 86 5/8″ W, Edition of 8

Courtesy of Paul Kasmin Gallery.

Les Lalannes, Crocodile Banquette, a Gilt-bronze and copper crocodile bench. Designed 2006, number 6 from an edition of 8 plus 4 artist’s proofs. 32” H x 56” W x 22” D, Stamped CL LALANNE 6/8 2007.

Estimate $100,000 – $150,000. Hammer $482,500

Courtesy of Christie’s [Lot 141]

Les Lalannes, Choupatte, Pièce Unique, 1992. A unique electroplated metal and bronze sculpture, 1992. Signed, monogrammed, dated, and numbered. 10 5/8” H x 9 ½” W.

Estimate $32,000 – $53,000. Hammer $225,000.

Courtesy of Sotheby’s [Lot 320]

Les Lalannes, Tortue Topiaire I. 1992. A copper turtle with topiary shell on wheels, 19 ½” H x 30” W x 48 ½” D.

Estimate $53,000 – 64,000. Sold for $196,000

Courtesy of Sotheby’s [Lot 223]

Les Lalannes, A functional and beautiful desk, Deuxième Rhinocéros, 1966. Brass metal sheet, wood, leather, and steel. 53.9” H x 118.1” W x 29.1” D.

Image courtesy of Agent of Style and details courtesy of Artnet.

As Lalanne continues to achieve record prices at auction, we at Suzanne Lovell Inc. look forward to seeing the art furniture of Claude and Franҫois-Xavier Lalanne grow in popularity and inspire designers.