ur next Important Design auction will offer a selection of works by the greatest designers of the 20th and 21st centuries. Among the featured artists are Jean Goulden, René Lalique, Charlotte Perriand, Gerrit Rietveld, Pierre Jeanneret, Alberto Giacometti, Jean Royère, Georges Jouve, Gio Ponti, Paul Evans, Maria Pergay and Andrea Branzi.
First Look: Important Design
Lalanne’s Grand Rhinocéros II
In 1978, Andrée Putman founded the Ecart agency. She decided to bring back to light the work of the great designers of the 1920s and 1930s: Pierre Chareau, Robert Mallet-Stevens, Eileen Gray, Jean-Michel Frank in particular, whose furniture she reissued.Andrée Putman has established herself on the design scene as a key figure and her loft in the rue de Savoie in Paris has been the subject of numerous photographic reports, as its pure volumes and furniture redefine the codes of interior design. From the famous Morgans Hotel in New York to The Putman Tower in Hong Kong, Andrée Putman's style bears witness to a taste for geometric rigor and sobriety that she discovered in the artists of the 1920s.
This is how the woman who defined herself as an "archaeologist of modernity" discovered the work of Jean Goulden, of whom we are presenting here a box and a case from her former collection; an artist who was forgotten at the time and who is now one of the important figures of modernity. Andrée Putman was also fascinated by the know-how and formal renewal of Cartier in the 1920s. Andrée Putman kept these modern treasures all her life. If they are among the most beautiful examples of the decorative art of the 1920s and 1930s, they are also today witnesses to the enlightened eye and taste of one of the most influential figures in the art world at the end of the 20th century.
While visiting the Lalannes in Ury in 1998, our patron came across a very unique capricorn in the artists' lounge, standing before the fireplace. The animal, drawn out to its full length, instantly attracted our collector. He then asked the artist if he would agree to create a similar sculpture for himself and his wife, to be placed in front of their fireplace, but on the condition that the animal be a different one, that it could be used as a seat, and that it be a stand-alone piece. This was how the Alpine Ibex came to be. The collector couple owned a chalet in the Alps and enjoyed animal sculptures.
The commission was confirmed, and François-Xavier enquired about the dimensions of the mantel and the hearth of the chalet's fireplace.
He produced a first sketch and had it sent by fax on May 6, 1999. Upon securing an approval in principle, he made a clay model. This was then photographed and sent by mail to the client for validation. The couple loved it and expressed their delight, it was therefore agreed that the animal would be cast in bronze and given a golden patina. François-Xavier did run into some difficulties with the delicate ciselling of the horns, as he explained in a letter dated April 6th 1999 apologizing for it.
The ibex was finally delivered in December 2000, placed in front of the fireplace, and has remained there to this day. This original piece, the only one of its kind, reveals how François-Xavier Lalanne worked: a detailed sketch, then a model, then the casting in bronze for the final version.
This commission is a wonderful example of François-Xavier Lalanne's ability to give free rein to his overflowing imagination. In the words of Claude Lalanne: "He conjures up dreams while awake and invites us to do the same when looking at his finished sculpture." Let us then dream as we look upon this Great Ibex, the only one of its kind.