DIARIOVOL 01, ISSUE 08
French artist Claude Lalanne has died at age 93. Part of the iconic duo Les Lalanne, with husband François-Xavier, she will live on in her nature-inspired creations in which sculpture and design captured a surrealist and organic world.
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Flower Ring in 18K Gold with Diamonds
Flower Earrings in 18K Gold with Diamonds
Francois-Xavier and Claude Lalanne: In the Domain of Dreams by Adrian Dannatt
Claude and François-Xavier Lalanne were one of the most dynamic art couples of the 20th century. Their nature-inspired creations gained the praise of collectors and fashion designers, with commissions from Yves Saint Laurent, Hubert de Givenchy, and Karl Lagerfeld. Les Lalanne began working side by side in the early ‘50s and were considered a team, but didn’t collaborate, rather shared a similar aesthetic founded on surrealism and on the incorporations from the animal and the botanical kingdoms. They worked in tandem. “We were in tune with each other and yet also very distinct,” Claude used to remark. She was born Claude Dupeux in 1924 in Paris and met François-Xavier Lalanne in 1952 at his first exhibition of paintings in Paris. It was not love at first sight. “I did not like him straight away,” Claude used to say. Their marriage, however, lasted until his death in 2008. She died earlier this month in her home in Ury, France.
Necklace in 18K Gold with Diamonds
Cocodoll, François-Xavier Lalanne, 1964 Brass and canvas on steel frame, 200 x 225 x 100 cm. © ADAGP. Collection. Photo: Studio Bailhache
Hippopotame II (bar) by Lalanne, 1976. Made in bronze, stainless steel, copper, and wood. Courtesy of Paul Kasmin Gallery.
Les Lalanne were sculptors and artists united in their playfulness and their love for the surreal. Throughout the years they have created a fantastical menagerie of animals, like the Ostrich-Bar, the Hippopotamus-Bath, the Windy Rabbit, the Donkey-Desk, the Baboon-Chimney, the Gorilla-Bar and naturally the Sheep, which was intended as furniture. “It is, after all, easier to have a sculpture in an apartment than to have a real sheep. And, it’s even better if you can sit on it,” François-Xavier once explained. The first public showing of their work included Rhinocrétaire (1967), a bronze rhinoceros-shaped writing desk. The couple’s functional creations stand outside of the trends but continue to look stubbornly modern, a reflection of Claude and François-Xavier Lalanne’s belief that art should be part of everyday life. An idea that is paramount for another sculptor and artist, Ippolita.
Reef Bangle in 18K Gold with Diamonds
Ippolita shares many things with Claude Lalanne. Among them is a sculptural approach to jewelry and a fascination with body imprinting. The concept of “wearable art” is at the core of both Ippolita and Claude’s pieces, reflecting a sensual and organic way to channel creativity. Claude’s Les Robes Lalanne for Yves Saint Laurent’s Autumn/Winter 1969 Haute Couture collection are gilt metal castings of supermodel Verushka’s body to be worn with blue and black dresses along with galvanic copper fingertips and ear ornaments, completing a whimsical, armor-like effect. Lalanne went on to become a regular collaborator of Yves Saint Laurent, creating intricate jewelry for his couture brand. For his private home in Paris, she conceived a series of 15 bronze mirrors festooned with vines. In her signature electroplating process, objects like leaves and petals transformed into copper, with the metal clinging to the organic material and creating a perfect replica, blurring the boundaries between art, design, and nature.
Starlet Supernova Earrings in 18K Gold with Diamonds
Drizzle Ring in 18K Gold with Diamonds
Claude Lalanne, Fuchia, 2015, Necklace, galvanised copper, diameter: 14.5 cm, unique, courtesy Louisa Guinness Gallery.
Claude Lalanne, a Gilt-Bronze Necklace, designed circa 1970, 16 in. (40.6 cm.)
FRANÇOIS-XAVIER LALANNE (1927-2008)
READ MORE DIARIO
VOL 01. ISSUE 01
"Appearance Can Be Deceiving"
VOL 01. ISSUE 02
New York Academy of Art x Ippolita
VOL 01. ISSUE 04
A Miracle of Light and Art
VOL 01. ISSUE 05
The Complexity of Simplicity
VOL 01. ISSUE 06
Design and the City
VOL 01. ISSUE 06