"The Lalannes" Marchesseau, Daniel

[159] pp.

9.75" x 7.75"

Flammarion

Inscribed by Claude Lalanne to for Alice and Ted... 19 October 2004

Les Lalanne is the term for the French artist duo comprising married couple François-Xavier Lalanne (1927–2008) and Claude Lalanne (1924–2019).[1]

Francois-Xavier Lalanne was born in Agen, France, and received a Jesuit education. At age 18, he moved to Paris and studied sculpture, drawing and painting at Académie Julian.[2] In 1948 Lalanne worked as an attendant at the Louvre in the Oriental Antiques section.[3] Francois-Xavier rented a studio in Montparnasse, next door to friend Constantin Brâncuși, after completing mandatory military service. Brâncuși introduced Lalanne to artists such as Max Ernst, Man Ray, Marcel Duchamp, and Jean Tinguely.[4] He met Claude Lalanne at his first gallery show in 1952.[5] The show signified an end of painting for François-Xavier as he and Claude began their career sculpting together. Claude Lalanne became known to the larger public in France in 1976 when the singer Serge Gainsbourg selected one of her works, "The man with the head of a cabbage", for the title and cover of an album of his.


Chatsworth Gardens - geograph.org.uk - 597020
In 1983 Lalanne was commissioned by the French Ministry of Culture to design new monumental fountains for the square in front of the Hôtel de Ville, Paris, and also to design gardens for the reconstructed Les Halles in the center of Paris.[6]

Claude Lalanne (1924–2019) was born in Paris and studied architecture at the École des Beaux-Arts and at the École des Arts Décoratifs.[7] She involved herself in the artist community in Impasse Ronsin, Montparnasse, Paris and became friends with American artists Larry Rivers and Jimmy Metcalf who helped her develop the art of electroplating.[8]

Les Lalanne are represented by the Paul Kasmin Gallery in New York City and Ben Brown Fine Arts in London.

Artworks and exhibitions
The themes explored by the two collectively went against the current trend of Abstract art in the 1960s. The couple believed and Francois-Xavier claimed, "the supreme art is the art of living."[9] The couple began attracting public attention in Paris during the 1960s when Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé commissioned them. In particular, Francois-Xavier's realistic bronze cast sheep covered in skin alongside lily vanes cast by Claude were displayed in the library of Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé. Their first exhibition together included Francois-Xavier's famous rhinoceros desk, Rhinocrétaire, and Claude's cabbage with chicken legs sculpture. Similar themes by Les Lalanne have classified their works as an ode to Surrealism and Art Nouveau.[10]


"The Dinosaurs of Santa Monica" (1989) by Claude and Francois-Xavier Lalanne, Santa Monica, California
Claude and François-Xavier Lalanne were known to co-create on projects rather than collaborate. While François-Xavier favored sculpting animal themes, Claude preferred vegetation.[11] These themes are vividly paired in their 1989 public art installation of topiary fountains for the City of Santa Monica's popular Third Street Promenade entitled The Dinosaurs of Santa Monica, where six 15-foot tall topiary dinosaurs spew jets of water.[12]


Pomme de Londres (2007)
In recent years, the works of Les Lalanne have been exhibited in different venues in New York City. In 2009, the artist duo participated in Park Avenue Recession Art, an effort developed by the Paul Kasmin Gallery, the New York City Parks Department’s public-art division and the Fund for Park Avenue Sculpture Committee.[13] The project involved a series of sculptures in between crosswalks on Park Avenue. The pieces featured were a bronze apple called "Pomme de New York" on 52nd Street, "Moutons" on 53rd Street, "Choupatte (Très Grand)" on 56th Street, and "Singe Avisé (Très Grand)" on 58th Street, which was François-Xavier's last sculpture.[13]

In the Fall of 2013, Mr. LaLanne's sheep were the inaugural public installation of "Getty Station", a former gas service station conceived by real estate developer and art collector Michael Shvo in Manhattan's Chelsea district, to much fanfare.[14]


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