FRANÇOIS-XAVIER LALANNE | UNIQUE "PETIT RHINOCÉROS MÉCANIQUE" CONDIMENT HOLDER
UNIQUE "PETIT RHINOCÉROS MÉCANIQUE" CONDIMENT HOLDER
with the original Saint-Gobain glassware set commissioned by the original owner, comprising one oil dispenser, two vinegar dispensers, one mustard pot, one salt shaker, one pepper shaker, two pots and three spouted vessels
patinated copper, Saint-Gobain glass
impressed LALANNE, monogrammed FXL and dated 78
9¾ x 21¼ x 6½ in. (24.7 x 53.9 x 16.5 cm)
Overall in very good condition. This unique work that embodies one of François-Xavier Lalanne’s best known animals functions both as a piece of sculpture and a condiment holder with a total of 7 fully operative doors, located on the face and body of the rhino. The doors easily open and close in various directions, making this piece highly elaborate in terms of production and a fully functional piece of craftsmanship. The copper surface presents with expected signs of age throughout, namely light oxidation marks, light surface scratches, and some occasional and scattered darkening to the surface, all consistent with age and the natural evolution of the material. The piece includes the originally commissioned Saint-Gobain glass set, which comprises one oil dispenser, two vinegar dispensers, one mustard pot, one salt shaker, one pepper shaker, two pots and three spouted vessels. The glass elements are all in excellent and well-preserved condition. This unique piece by the artist holds a special place in the artist’s œuvre and provides a rare opportunity for collectors to acquire an exceptional work that displays both stunning sculptural features and a clever reinterpretation of the condiment holder form.
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.
Commissioned directly from the artist by the original owner, 1978
Christie's Paris, 28 May 2010, lot 246
Les Lalannes, exh. cat., Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 1975, p. 8 (for a related model)
Jean-Louis Gaillemin, “Atelier Lalanne,” Architectural Digest, February 1981 (for the present lot photographed in situ in the artist’s studio)
Claude & François-Xavier Lalanne: Fragments, exh. cat., Galerie Enrico Navarra, Paris and JGM Galerie, Paris, 2000, pp. 13 and 57 (for details of a variant of the model)
Daniel Abadie, Lalanne(s), Paris, 2008, pp. 234 (for a preparatory drawing of the present lot) and 235 (for the present lot illustrated)
Les Lalanne, exh. cat., Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, 2010, p. 62 (for related models)
Paul Kasmin, Claude & François-Xavier Lalanne, New York, 2012, n.p. (for a related model)
In 1964, François-Xavier Lalanne (1927-2008) introduced the Rhino-crétaire to his bestiary, a large-scale, bronze-fleshed desk in the shape of a rhinoceros. Several versions of the model followed. In 1971, Lalanne created a monumental rhino made of leather which cleverly disassembled into several independent seats. The animal became a leitmotif in the artist’s œuvre and was used as a main theme for smaller objects, including extremely rare functional pieces incorporating complex mechanisms such as the present lot. Only three variants of this condiment holder are known to exist. “Petit Rhinocéros Mécanique” is exceptional in terms of conception and machinery, displaying a unique mechanism of doors and hidden alcoves, and includes a set of custom-made Saint-Gobain glassware commissioned by the original client.