International art brokers Sotheby’s sees no lack of artworks through its illustrious doors, but an auction in Paris this autumn of over 280 pieces from the much-admired collection of French artist couple Claude and François-Xavier Lalanne is being lauded as a landmark sale.
The pioneering duo – affectionately known as Les Lalanne – spent five decades working side by side and exhibiting together but preserved their personal visions by rejecting a conventionally collaborative approach. Claude Lalanne imbued her delicate copper and gilt bronze pieces with an organic, art nouveau-inspired romanticism, while François-Xavier Lalanne’s near-surrealist sculptural furniture blended the functional and fantastical.
Between them, they boast a series of surreal vignettes courtesy of the last century’s cultural giants, from creating cutlery for Salvador Dali to inspiring the name and artwork for a Serge Gainsborough album.
The collection on offer to the collectors includes seminal pieces by the pair, as well as artworks from 20th-century trailblazers – many their peers and friends – such as Max Ernst, Niki de Saint Phalle, Jean Tinguely, William N. Copley, Jasper Johns and Elaine Sturtevant, with each appearing at auction from their home and studio near Fontainebleau. ‘Every object is imbued with the story of this mythic couple,’ says Florent Jeanniard, head of 20th-century design, Sotheby’s European division. The auction will take place on the 23 and 24 October. sothebys.com
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