In conjunction with her husband François-Xavier Lalanne, Claude began her curious, surrealist, animal-inspired creations starting in the 1960s, and continues to work today. Les Lalanne, as the duo is called, worked in bronze to replicate the likeness of wild creatures, either as fine art or decorative art in the case of many of their works which can also function as furniture. Ranging from fluffy sheep sculptures to ginko-covered armchairs, monkey lamps to Magritte-inspired apples, Les Lalanne drew inspiration from a variety of sources, most notably their art historical precedents, the Surrealists. Evident throughout their body of work is this whimsical, absurd, uncanny quality pioneered by the Surrealists.
The present work, Le Lapin de Victoire depicts a hare standing tall, holding a staff adorned with cabbage leaves at the top. The rabbit’s stance seems almost human-like, as if he could come to life at any moment, evoking the culturally ubiquitous White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland. Claude Lalanne intended the work to be situated within a garden, hidden amongst the bushes, with only the tall cabbage-topped staff peering over the surrounding shrubbery so that a passer-by would get a glimpse of the cabbage and follow the marker to ultimately find the hidden statue, much like Alice in Wonderland's White Rabbit leads Alice to a new, secret world. This work conjures a feeling of childlike wonder, as if the viewer has just entered into an imaginary world full of mythical, surprising, strange creatures that delight and enchant the eye.
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