François-Xavier Lalanne was born in 1927 in Agen. He studied drawing, sculpture and painting at the Académie Julian in Paris, where he was strongly influenced by Brancusi, Magritte and Dalí. He also rented a studio in Montparnasse, close to Brancusi's, and met Ernst, Tinguely, Man Ray and Duchamp.Read More
The young artist worked as an assistant at the Louvre, in the departments of ancient Egyptian and Assyrian art, spending hours studying animal sculptures in galleries. Lalanne was also working as a cartoonist for the French-Hungarian architect André Sive.
When Lalanne met his future wife, Claude Dupeux at his first solo exhibition, they began a long collaboration. Together and individually, they created surrealist sculptures, often in animal shapes. Their first joint solo exhibition was held under the title Zoophites at Jeanine Restany's J gallery in 1964. The tone of their production was given. François-Xavier showed Rhinocrétaire first rhino brass desk and Claude, Choupattes, half-cabbage half-animal. Then a long collaboration began with the gallery owner Alexandre Iolas, great defender of the Surrealists and New Realists.
Their whole career was led by the desire to give back to the sacred sculpture a familiar dimension, a possible use. Nature, especially the animal world offered them an infinity of forms recognisable by all. Sheep, monkeys, rhinos, donkeys, camels, frogs, hippos, cats... constituted a variety of forms that Lalanne submitted with humour to the constraints of decorative art.
Prestigious collectors such as the Rothschild or Noailles soon discovered their talent. Among them, Yves Saint Laurent was one of the most faithful.
They loved their foliage seats for their apartments as well as the large sculptures for their gardens.
Public Lalanne's sculptures are exhibited at the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica as well as the Hôtel de Ville and the Halles in Paris. His work was also exhibited, among others, at the Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais in Paris, at the Boymans Museum in Rotterdam and the Art Institute of Chicago. His works are in the public collections of the Fisher Landau Center for Art in New York, the Museum of Modern Art and Contemporary Art of Nice and the Regional Contemporary Art Fund Picardie in Amiens.
Text courtesy Helene Bailly Gallery.
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