Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Wild Kingdom: The World of Claude and Francois-Xavier Lalanne

Claude Lalanne's Choupatte in copper and bronze


Known individually and collectively, Les Lalanne is the husband and wife team of French artists who defined a new sculptural style. At their farm studio they worked for more than 50 years where they created surreal poetic sculptures where cabbages have chicken feet and benches grow out of the earth.
Working since the 1960s, the two began the Renaissance art of casting from life and then used contemporary electro-plating techniques. With electro-plating the two were able to achieve fine detail that was unparalleled in cast bronze. Claude created intricate botanicals while her husband achieved the same fine detail in animal figures. He said, "The animal world constitutes the richest and most varied forms on the planet."

Entering the world of Les Lalanne is like entering a fairy tale world full of imagination and wildness. They inhabit a world full of animals, wild gardens, old fashioned gates and flower beds. Their sculptures are whimsical and at the same time elegant, with references to ancient French craftsmanship and twentieth-century Surrealism. An example of Claude’s work comes from her garden of choupattes or cabbages. Her cabbages are four feet tall and have chicken feet. As she casts from life, the size of her cabbage sculptures are determined by the size of the cabbage she grows, She says in Town and County, “the bigger the cabbage; the longer and more involved the casting and founding process. The sculptures are finished when they are given their chicken feet.”
Right now through June 16, 2012 you can see their whimsical work at The Paul Kasmin Gallery in New York City. Along with the exhibit is the first book covering their work. Photographed by Paul Kasmin at Les Lalanne home, studio, and gardens, it is entitled, Claude & Francois-Xavier:Art Work Life

Claude Lalanne (b. 1924 in Paris, lives and works in Ury, France) François-Xavier Lalanne (b. 1927 in Agen, died 2008 in Ury, France).Read more about Les Lalanne in the New York Times, Living Treasures. In Vogue, Design: Les Lalanne.

Book about Claude and Francois-Xavier Lalanne. Click on the image to locate it in our catalog.

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