François-Xavier Lalanne

Francois Xavier Lalanne was born in Agen, France in 1927. At 18, he left for Paris to pursue an education in sculpture, drawing and painting at Académie Julian. Upon graduation, Lalanne moved to Montparnasee and rented a studio where he became neighbour to Constantin Brancusi, one of the most influential sculptors. Lalanne had his first gallery show in 1952, where he met his future wife, Claude Lalanne. Since then, their artistic career would be intertwined and collectively they are known as Les Lalanne. It would be under the joint creativity of the Les Lalanne that conceptualised and created their distinctive and imaginative sculptures which could be referenced to classical antiquity, surrealism, baroque and Art Nouveau. Both sculptors derived their inspirations from nature. Claude Lalanne preferred compositions of plants while Francois Xavier skewed towards animal sculptures infused with a sense of humour and playfulness. The common emphasis which the duo has is their rejection of abstract style which was popular in the mid 20th century. The couple also has a shared vision that art can also be functional hence the incorporation of the functionalities into some of their sculptures such as a life size Rhinoceros which opens up to become a writing desk. Since the 1960s, Les Lalanne has build up their reputation and garnered recognition in France and internationally. They were commissioned to create large scale sculptures such as bulls, sheep and gorillas that adorned public spaces such as Park Avenue, New York. Their works are also featured in prestigious museums around the world including the National Design Museum, New York; Musée Nationale d'Art Moderne, Paris; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Museé d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris and the Cooper Hewitt Museum, New York as well as in private collections by renowned art collectors.