The Financial Times marvels that Ben Brown Fine Arts’s show of works by Francois-Xavier and Claude Lalanne is only the third such show ever held in London. Two of those shows were held by Ben Brown and his records reveal the dramatic effect the Yves Saint-Laurent/Pierre Bergé sale had on the sculptor’s market:
it was the big 2009 Yves Saint-Laurent sale that was a game-changer for perceptions – and prices – of Les Lalanne. Ben Brown’s records show that on some pieces prices have multiplied as much as sevenfold since the gallery’s 2007 sale. Traditional collectors who had never felt comfortable in this enchanted world of crocodiles transformed into benches, sheep on wheels, rhinoceros desks, monkeys climbing up shower pipes and clocks disguised as apples began to realise that although their work may have a light touch, it is entirely serious in its conception, execution and dedication. […]
While the work of Les Lalanne links directly with that of the Surrealists (Magritte, Max Ernst and Victor Brauner, undoubted influences, were part of their youthful circle), it was their friendship with Brancusi that inspired them to follow their own artistic path of “useful” sculpture. […]
But their work should not be confused with design-art. The latter is produced by designers, making unique or limited edition pieces that elevate design to the borders of art in order to experiment with radical techniques or rare materials. Les Lalanne are sculptors; their work belongs squarely in the fine art world, no matter how “useful”. In that sense they are often compared to Giacometti, who also devoted much of his life to the decorative arts.
The Play of Fantasy, Perfectly Cast (Financial Times)