Ben Brown Fine Arts Hong Kong is honoured to present the exhibition Claude and François-Xavier Lalanne from 26 February to 29 March 2014. This is the gallery’s second exhibition of the Lalannes’ work in Hong Kong, following a 2011 show that was met with great acclaim throughout the region. This exhibition will bring together the elaborate and organically-inspired work of Claude Lalanne in the form of tables, chairs and chandeliers, including a coveted Croco Bureau, with the iconic and substantial animal forms of the late François-Xavier Lalanne.
The work of Claude and François-Xavier Lalanne, who are often referred to as Les Lalanne, defies categorisation: it is at once surrealist, classical, contemporary, fine art, decorative art, functional design, whimsical objets. The last of a generation of avant-garde artists in Paris, Claude is able to reminisce of their times living next door to Constantin Brancusi, travelling in the same circle as René Magritte and Max Ernst, and working with loyal collectors such as Yves Saint-Laurent and Pierre Bergé. While Les Lalanne shared a studio and exhibited together throughout their careers, their oeuvres are entirely distinctive. Claude’s work takes on a more sinuous and ethereal form, depicting flora and fauna evocative of the art nouveau movement. François-Xavier’s works—including sheep, rhinoceroses, gorillas, desks, and bars—offer a gravity of form and sense of whimsy that bring life to the spaces they occupy. Together, the Lalannes’ works create a dialogue that is at once playful, elegant and arresting, and equally suitable for traditional and contemporary environments.
The exhibition includes many new works from Claude’s studio such as two unique, electrified chandeliers (each Lustre, 2013); a unique mirror of bronze gingko leaves (Miroir Ginkgo, 2013); and a table of delicate bronze branches with mice scurrying along the diagonals (Console aux Branchettes, 2013). One of Claude’s highly sought-after tables cast from crocodile skin (Croco Bureau, 2007), which reached cult status after being displayed in the Tom Ford flagship store in New York, will be offered in the exhibition. Many important François-Xavier pieces have been released from the family’s collection for the exhibition, including a graceful deer (Wapiti (petit), 1988) and a regal owl (Oiseaux Branchés (Le Hibou), 1995).
Claude Lalanne (b. 1924 in Paris, France) and François-Xavier Lalanne (b. 1927 in Agen, France; d. 2008 in Ury, France) have been known individually — and collectively as ‘Les Lalanne’ — since the 1960s.
Francois-Xavier Lalanne moved to Paris at the age of 18 to study sculpture, drawing and painting at the Académie Julian. After renting a studio in Montparnasse, he met artists Constantin Brancusi, Max Ernst,
Man Ray, Marcel Duchamp and Jean Tinguely, who would all prove influential on his work.
It wasn’t until 1952, when he met Claude (née Dupeux) at his first gallery show, that he abandoned painting for sculpture. Claude studied architecture at the École des Beaux-Arts and the École des Arts Décoratifs. She became friends with American artists Larry Rivers and Jimmy Metcalf, who helped her develop the art of electroplating.
The Lalannes’ works are represented in many prominent collections around the world including the National Design Museum (New York), Musée Nationale d'Art Moderne/Centre Georges Pompidou (Paris), the Cooper Hewitt Museum (New York) and the Museé d’Histoire Naturelle (Paris). This exhibition comes following a major retrospective held in 2010 at the Museé des Arts Décoratifs in Paris.