I find this kind of artistic creation so inspiring and attractive; for it’s a true reflection of all the art, design and genius in nature that surrounds us daily– with an amazing abstract twist.
“The supreme art is the art of living.” –Francois-Xavier Lalanne
For more than four decades, the French husband-and-wife artists François-Xavier and Claude Lalanne have charmed the art and style glitterati with their whimsical, sensual sculptures. François-Xavier’s famous bronze-and-wool sheep and donkey or rhinoceros desks, and Claude’s botanical-inspired furniture and flatware, are elegantly oblivious of the boundaries between fine and decorative art.
Now, in their later years, the Lalannes are hotter than ever. Their work is bringing big bucks at auction: Reed Krakoff, Coach’s creative director, paid a record $380,000-plus for a 1968 set of sheep by Francois-Xavier; and four bronze garden armchairs by Claude. Krakoff, who owns several Lalanne pieces in addition to the sheep, produced the first English-language book on their work, Claude & Francois-Xavier Lalanne.
The architect Peter Marino, a Lalanne devotee for 20 years, has chosen five sculptures from François-Xavier for the private garden of a luxury condominium that Marino is designing at 170 East End Avenue. James Zemaitis, who heads the 20th-century design department at Sotheby’s, compares the Lalannes to heavyweights like Giacometti and Rateau.
The Lalannes came of age in the 60’s, but disdained the abstract art that then ruled supreme. ”They live in an artistic world that is full of living organisms,” says their London dealer, Ben Brown, who expects to mount a Lalanne show in 2007. When you see their work in situ — a mirrored room adorned with tendril-like bronze ”moldings” that Claude designed for Yves Saint Laurent; François-Xavier’s donkey desk in the decorator Jacques Grange’s bedroom; or Claude’s bronze lily pads in a fountain at Marino’s country house — their special blend of luxurious sensuality and earthy irreverence becomes even clearer. The Lalannes’ most avid admirers are those who buy into François-Xavier’s credo: ”The supreme art is the art of living.” –New York Times Style magazine