Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Design and whimsy - Les Lalanne

When I started this blog I said I would showcase my work but I also said I would share with you the work of artists and designers I love and who inspire me. 
Claude (1925-) and Francois-Xavier Lalanne (1927-2008) are two of my favorite French designers. 
(photo of Claude and Francois-Xavier Lalanne - photo by Pierre Boulat / Cosmos - they are posing on their  own creations)
I discovered them a long time ago through my mother who loves their work too. My first experience with seeing their work in person was quite amazing as it was at the Jardins de Bagatelle in Paris for an outdoors exhibition. 
Claude and Francois-Xavier started their work collaboration in 1956, all the while continuing to make their own pieces on the side too. Their first show took place at Jeanine Restany's Gallery (J galerie) in France in 1964. 
The Lalanne believe that sculpture, and art in general, can be functional. Their career has been dedicated to give back a familiar dimension to sculpture as well as a functionality. You can look but also touch, seat, feel, lay down on, use to eat or wear their creations.
Nature and the animal kingdom offer endless inspiration to the Lalanne whose work share some similarities while being also very personal and different. One major common trait being that their designs are often very humorous.
Since pictures talk better than words though, here are a few, followed by some links.

Francois-Xavier's work:
Francois-Xavier Lalanne, Rhinocretaire, 1966
Francois-Xavier Lalanne, Cocodoll, 1964
Francois-Xavier Lalanne, Moutons Blancs, 1979, bronze and sheep's wool
Francois-Xavier Lalanne, Boite de Sardines, 1971
Francois-Xavier Lalanne, La mouche, 1966

Claude Lalanne's work:

Claude Lalanne, "Structures Williamsburg", 1986, bronze armchair (set of 6)
Claude Lalanne, "Choupatte" (tres grande), 2008, copper and bronze, Paul Kasmin Gallery
Claude Lalanne, "Pomme Bouche"

Claude Lalanne, "coverts Iolas", 1966, silver
Claude Lalanne, "Homme a tete de chou", 1970, 2005 edition, bronze and galvanized copper
Claude Lalanne, "Collier soleil", around 1970

A few links to discover their work:
- Paul Kasmin Gallery in NY:
- JGM. Galerie in Paris:
- Article in the NYTimes:
- Other article about Francois-Xavier Lalanne (obituary):
- In French, Musee des Arts Decoratifs website:

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