François-Xavier Lalanne

Born 1924. Died 2008.
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François-Xavier Lalanne Biography

François-Xavier Lalanne was born in 1927 in Agen. After the war, he moved to Paris where he studied at the Julian academy to become a painter. On the occasion of his first exhibition at the Cimaise Gallery in Paris in 1952, he met Claude Dupeux, his future wife. After meeting her, he then gave up painting and started working with Claude.

Claude and Francois-Xavier first joint exhibition, titled Zoophite, took place in 1964 at the J. Gallery. They revealed their hybrid creations between sculptures and everyday objects. In 1966, they introduced themselves under the name Les Lalanne. The two artists ‘each created their own works but shared a common universe inspired by the animal and plant world and often exhibited together.

François-Xavier Lalanne invented a bestiary composed of monkeys, rhinos, donkeys, camels, toads, hippos or cats. Among them, the sheep is undoubtedly his favorite animal. Alone or in a flock, with or without head, sheathed or not fleece of sheep, it can constitute a seat. His will, shared with Claude, is to desacralize the sculpture to give it a familiar dimension. The artist has also made public commissions. For example, in France he installed his Pigeons in the city of Grande-Borne in Grigny and a Polymorphous Rabbit in a high school in Tourcoing. He is also present abroad as seen by his Les Pleureuses (the mourners), a monumental fountain installed at the Hakone Open-Air Museum in Japan.

The success of François-Xavier Lalanne is immediate. In 1968, he was made a Knight of Arts and Letters. His works are acquired by great collectors such as Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé, the Rothschilds or Noailles. The Lalanne are exhibited throughout the world, presented in both galleries and museums. The retrospective organized in 2010 by the Musée des Arts Décoratifs is one of the last major exhibitions of the duo. After a long career, the artist died in 2008 in Ury.

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