It is with great sadness that Jean-Gabriel Mitterrand announces the disappearance of the artist Claude Lalanne, “his friend”, April 10, at Fontainebleau. “Years of working and living friendly with it have been a unique experience and happy that ends too soon and leaves a great void. The personality of Claude Lalanne was built as a fortress against the bad taste and pretension. She was out hunting with mood and humour the poor and had no chance to exegetes of the so-called “avant-garde” as to the modes of artistic transient,” says the parisian gallery owner, a gentleman of-the-art full of tact and the spirit.

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Born in 1925 in Ury, Seine-et-Marne, he studied architecture at the École des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, Claude Lalanne concern is to create sculptures utilities. It applies to marry off his research aesthetics, natural and practical design, whether sculptures, furniture or jewelry in the metal, transforming the whole into a work of art unique in their mind. She meets in a gallery in 1952, her future husband François-Xavier Lalanne, almost his contemporary, as he was born in 1927 in Agen. He attended after the war, the Académie Julian, founded in Paris in 1866 by the French painter Rodolphe Julian, has studied drawing, sculpture and painting, has worked with Constantin Brancusi, René Magritte, and Salvador Dalí.

A sculptor and haute couture. Serge Bailhache / galerie Mitterrand

The couple will become famous under the signature of The Lalanne.

In the 1950s, François-Xavier Lalanne decorates the new paris boutique Dior avenue Montaigne, with the young assistant Yves Saint Laurent. In 1956, he decided to work with his partner Claude, artist alive to the tastes of the baroque, with which he signs the garden of les Halles, in Paris. He married Claude, in 1967. It is a series of commands performed by Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé, during the 1960s, which will grant them a first international exposure.

Their first personal exhibition of the common place under the title Zoophites at J gallery of Jeanine Restany in 1964. The tone of their production is given. François-Xavier presents the Rhinocrétaire, first rhino-office brass, and Claude of Choupattes, mi-chou mi-animal. Then begins a long collaboration with the gallery owner Alexander Iolas, a great defender of the surrealists and the new-realists.

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The couple find some form of inspiration and complementarity through textures, lines and shapes found in nature. Claude is particularly inspired by plants and flowers, while François-Xavier is interested in the animals.

Hippo-bath, baboon-fireplace, rhino and donkey-offices

“The works of Claude are made from techniques related to the footprint, to the casting and electroplating ; it should be the most intimate but also the most baroque. Those of François-Xavier cover a bestiary mischievous under of attitudes hieratic, and entering the forms of his sculptures in the lineage of those of ancient Egypt, pom-Pom, or even of Brancusi who was his neighbouring studio in the impasse Ronsin in Montparnasse”, analysis of the decorative Arts for their exhibition Lalanne , in 2010, under the pen of Olivier Gabet. “Collectors of prestigious, such as the Rothschild’s and the Noailles discovered early their talent. Yves Saint Laurent will be one of the most faithful. Claude mould to the bust of the supermodel Veruschka. Decorated with the breastplate, worn over a draped, this model will continue the success of the haute couture collection for the autumn of 1969.”

“The full global recognition of their work, however, is coming rather late, and by successive steps, thanks to the exceptional works they have created during their 50 years of work. They have been revealed on the occasion of numerous exhibitions. In the gallery, of course. And at events such as the exhibition of the castle of Chenonceau, in 1991, and the gardens of Bagatelle, in 1998. They remain in the memories, as the books of Daniel Abadie and Daniel Marchesseau, edited during these years”, emphasises Jean-Gab, the friend and protector against the evil influences of the last few years so fragile.

Francois-Xavier Lalanne died on December 7, 2008 at the age of 81. Until the end of his life, he has lived and worked in Ury, near Fontainebleau. “Among the most well known pieces: the Sheep of François-Xavier. Alone or in a flock, with or without head, trimmed or not from fleece of sheep, they are seats or benches. Similarly, a hippopotamus opens to become a bathtub, a baboon is a fireplace, a rhino and a donkey’s offices… To these associations, incongruent shapes and functions, to meet the assemblies of Claude, who mould the body, the leaves, the apples, the cabbage, then combine. Among its achievements, the Man in cabbage head , Apple mouth , Snail finger , but also many items of jewellery and objects of table, seat”, the museum of decorative Arts. All of these pieces combine technical and fancy snapping up today at a high price in the market.

“It was the simplicity of the artists Claude Lalanne and the “Giant Choupatte”. Capucine de Chabaneix / Galerie Mitterrand

Residing in his apartment in Paris, Claude Lalanne, his companion, his muse, and his widow, yet passed much of his time in his workshop in the countryside near Fontainebleau.

“The core values that she loved were related to the work of each day and its completion. She worked until the last day of a monumental staircase, commissioned by Peter Marino that she had just completed,” recalls Jean-Gabriel Mitterrand, who has so often exposed to in 30 years of friendship unbroken, at 79, rue du Temple (Iiird). “The creation of the jewelry she has devoted to the collection of Christian Dior for Maria – Grazia Chiuri in 2017, has been a time of joy for Claude Lalanne, he adds. It was the simplicity of the artists who “make” things with their hands and build a world of poetry to them, without worrying about anything else. She loved nature and knew how to bring it to life through his sculptures , securities and jewelry in bronze or copper, with magic. His art is the achievement of the harmony of his mysterious relationship to nature, which she understood and translated into life and beauty.”

“His sense of friendship was without fault”

Memories of a rare alliance. “Since the inception of the gallery in 1988 , Lalanne, François-Xavier and Claude, we have given them becauset artistic, tells Jean-Gabriel Mitterrand. They spoke faithfully, all these years, until the recent exhibitions of 2018. These years of professional life and friendly, have deeply marked the experience of our gallery, our teams, our family, because their commitment was to the extent of the respect of their formidable requirement. And this, in the fulfilment of all our joint actions: exhibitions, catalogues, editions, various. His sense of friendship was flawless and, despite its global success, she kept a natural and without any pretense with each other. Claude Lalanne had a sense of a generous hospitality, as it is for the collectors, the friends, his family. There are more lunches and delicious dinners in her home, in his garden.”

“What touches me in it, is to have brought together in the same requirement and crafts, and poetry. His beautiful hands of the sculptor, appear to dismiss the mists of mystery to reach the shores of-the-art

Yves Saint Laurent

a Few years before his death on 1st June 2008, Yves Saint Laurent was a testimony to him also. “There are more than 30 years already that Claude Lalanne walks on the art of our time, her eyes gray-green, ironic and peaceful. I often solicited his cooperation, explained the fashion designer in 1994 in Vogue. For me, she has created jewelry and sculptures that I enroulais around my models. In my houses, there are always works of Claude. In Paris, a room of mirrors, an echo of Nymphenburg. In Deauville, the seats of large leaves of pale blue, a conversation for a tea room in the open air, candelabras full of strength where curl the clouds of branches. In Marrakech cutlery from a herbarium. What touches me in it, is to have brought together in the same requirement and crafts, and poetry. His beautiful hands of the sculptor, appear to dismiss the mists of mystery to reach the shores of art.”

The extraordinary success of the sale of Pierre Bergé-Yves Saint-Laurent on 23, 24 and 25 February 2009 at the Grand Palais – 30 000 visitors in three days to admire the vast collection, assembled in 40 years by the couple, or a sale of Christie’s that realized 375.3 million euros, a record for a private collection – put them on the front of the stage, installing their reputation at the highest international level.

The association of the Museum of Decorative Arts in Paris and Peter Marino, who has been the set designer, has ensured the success of the retrospective exhibition that was dedicated to Paris in 2010. In New York at Paul Kasmin, London, and Hong Kong at Ben Brown, and Louisa Guinness, Claude and François Lalanne have exceeded the French borders. In 2020, an important foundation of the u.s. will pay tribute, near New-York.

Claude Lalanne leaves today his artistic legacy to his four daughters, Caroline, Mary, Valerie and Dorothy, his six grandchildren and his many great-grandchildren that extend all the universe of Lalanne.

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