The poetic sculpture of François-Xavier Lalanne - La Gazette Drouot

François-Xavier Lalanne (1927-2008)
François-Xavier Lalanne (1927-2008)
"Petit Ours"

In 2021, the Petit Trianon was home to a strange menagerie : a bear, geese, a few sheep, a rabbit whose head turns in the wind... The walk through this whimsical bestiary was designed by Claude and François-Xavier Lalanne's friend, Jean-Gabriel Mitterrand. In this session, the Bear feels very much alone in the lounges of the Hôtel Martinez. Standing on his haunches, he sniffes the vanished scents of his friends for a day. His round eyes watch the parade of art lovers. Its pure lines beckon you to caress it...

François-Xavier Lalanne

François-Xavier Lalanne (1927-2008), Petit ours

Bronze print with patina, numbered 5/8, 50 x 25 x 25 cm

Estimate : 240000/300000€

The magnificent patina makes it shine like a precious jewel. It illustrates François-Xavier Lalanne's aesthetic filiation with the animal sculptor François Pompon (1855-1933): suggesting the animal in a naturalistic way by erasing most of the details. At first, Lalanne hesitated between painting and sculpture. Then he finally chose. "Painters piss me off because they're stupid, pretentious, talkative, lazy, and because they don't know what to do...", he said in a confession to Jean Cau reported by Harry Bellet in his obituary published in Le Monde. Influenced by the refined style of his neighbour in Impasse Ronsin, Constantin Brancusi, he devoted himself to his favourite art, which he practised not without humour. "Art is like life: it shouldn't be so serious", he often said. Thus were born the famous Rhinocrétaire, duck-bars, gorilla-struts and sheep-seats... Instant successes, sharing space with his wife Claude. Partners, friends and accomplices, the two artists are complementary!

François-Xavier's predilection for the animal world enriches Claude's work, which focuses more on plants. And vice versa. The Bear belongs to a body of sculptures that are less surrealist. Hieratic as an Egyptian statue - which the sculptor had the leisure to contemplate when he worked as a guard at the Louvre - this plantigrade is recognisable at first glance. A quality shared with François-Xavier Lalanne's bestiary.

LA GAZETTE DROUOT N° 16 OF APRIL 19th, 2024 page 127


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XX° century75
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