The imaginative and expertly crafted art of Claude Lalanne (1925–2019) and François-Xavier Lalanne (1927–2008) reflects their belief that the human, animal, and vegetal worlds share a profound kinship. Throughout their long careers they looked to nature for inspiration, creating sculpture, furniture, and other works that morph natural objects into unexpected inventions that play with the boundaries between form and function. The married couple rarely collaborated on objects, but from 1966 on they referred to themselves jointly as “Les Lalanne” and to their works as “Lalannes.” They always exhibited together and over many years created a rich and diverse body of work. Both artists were prolific; François-Xavier was active up to his death in 2008, after which Claude continued to work in her studio every day through the rest of her life. This is the first American art museum exhibition dedicated to the couple in over forty years, and the first museum exhibition since the death of Claude in April 2019. The selection of work focuses on the ways both artists transformed nature through surreal combinations of flora and fauna, shifts of scale, and flights of fancy, creating hybrid objects that are at once sculptural and, often, functional. Combining technical expertise with wild inventiveness, the Lalannes created art that celebrates the world in which we live.
Inside the private world of “Les Lalanne”
The Lalannes moved to their house and studio in the town near Fontainebleau, Claude’s birthplace, in 1967 – the year they were married – and lived and worked under the same roof for fifty years. Filled with decades-worth of their art, seamlessly integrated into a warm home, the house and its grounds provided a fantastic source of inspiration for the couple.
Above all, they shared a love of nature that they each celebrated in their own way: Claude used the plants and flowers from the garden as a blueprint for her creations, while François-Xavier often incorporated animal imagery into his unique furniture pieces.
Claude and Francois-Xavier Lalanne: Nature Transformed
by Kathleen M. Morris
Publisher:Yale University Press
Published by Rizzoli (2018)