Sotheby’s Paris is selling Claude and François-Xavier Lalanne’s personal collection of nearly 300 works mostly of their own making. Among the lots are a Grand Choupatte, a bronze cabbage on chicken legs; Claude’s Bureau Crocodile; as well as her tables of ginkgo leaves; François-Xavier’s Rhinocrétaire; a flock of the artist’s Moutons de Peter; and a large bar cabinet Grand Mouflon de Pauline.
This autumn, in a landmark dedicated two-day sale in Paris, Sotheby’s will offer over 280 works of art from the extraordinary collection of Claude and François-Xavier Lalanne – two of the most pioneering, important and beloved artists of the 20th century, who lived and worked alongside each other in perfect harmony for over five decades. ‘Les Lalanne’, as they affectionately came to be known, gave life to a poetic œuvre, injecting the familiar and functional with a dreamlike enchantment and overriding sense of humour and whimsy. Loved and celebrated by many of the leading artists, influencers and collectors of their generation, Les Lalanne were part of the cultural tapestry of the 20th-century arts scene, their work featuring on everything from Serge Gainsbourg album covers to Salvador Dalí’s dining table.
With each lot in the sale appearing at auction directly from their home and studio near Fontainebleau, these were the artworks with which they chose to surround themselves. The selection includes a number of major pieces by the couple themselves, intertwined with works by artists who were friends of the duo, including Niki de Saint Phalle, Jean Tinguely, Max Ernst, William N. Copley, Jasper Johns and Elaine Sturtevant.
The fascinating exhibition and auction – initiated by Claude herself and today realised by her family –will invite viewers into the intimate world that Claude and François-Xavier inhabited and give a taste of the playfully surreal and highly fashionable aesthetic they embodied and engendered in their sculptures.
Florent Jeanniard, Head of 20th Century Design at Sotheby’s Europe, said: “It is both an immense privilege and a fantastic opportunity to have been chosen by the family of Claude and François-Xavier Lalanne to orchestrate this sale, as each object is imbued with the story of this mythic couple.”
Mario Tavella, Président-directeur général Sotheby’s France and chairman Sotheby’s Europe said: “I never had the opportunity to meet François-Xavier Lalanne, but I had the privilege of knowing Claude personally, and to be introduced to the wonders of her universe and deep affinity with the natural world. It is a great honour to be able to pay tribute to these internationally renowned artists, a couple who hold today a fundamental place in the history of French art.”