Christie’s on the lasting appeal of French designer duo Les Lalanne


Emily Fitzgerald, Associate Design Specialist at Christie’s, explains why all periods of Claude and François-Xavier Lalanne’s works of art and design, which depict a fantastic universe of flora and fauna, are coveted in the market.

When did you start to see the demand for the works of Claude and François-Xavier Lalanne and what is driving their growing market?

Over the past three years, prices have firmed in the market for Claude and François-Xavier Lalanne. There has always been a constant demand and interest in their work. This recent rise in values ​​shows how these artists have emerged more widely in public consciousness. For example, François-Xavier Lalanne’s sheep have acquired iconic status and have been adopted by popular culture, as evidenced by celebrity houses and various art and design magazines.

What particularly stands out about their works, their approach, their process and their technique?

Claude and François-Xavier Lalanne approach sculpture in a new way. There is adhesion to high quality materials and a high level of craftsmanship. Their innovative approach is rooted in the history of art and nature producing a wide variety of fantastic forms that perpetuate the principles of surrealism. The fact that their works touch on so many aspects of form, material and history of art makes them universally attractive to the market.

When did they debut at auction?

The Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé sale in February 2009 at Christie’s was the first time that the Lalanne had been presented alongside canonized 20th century art and design in the same auction, but their work has always been brought together at alongside the greats of art and design by the most influential people. Dealers like Alexander Iolas and collectors Gunter Sachs and the Agnelli family have firmly established a connection between the Lalanne and the fashionable and sophisticated collection.

What is important in Stone sheep (10 works) reach $ 7.5 million at Christie’s auction in New York in December 2011, and what did that mean to them at the time?

This extraordinary result, reaching 10 times the low estimate, firmly established François-Xavier Lalanne’s value as a market leader and he has held the world record for 10 years.

Would you like to report any other significant secondary market sales?

A defining moment for François-Xavier Lalanne at auction was the inclusion of Bar Mayersdorff in the evening art sale at Christie’s on May 17, 2018. This auction illustrates a further rethinking of thinking about how Lalanne’s works are presented, transcending categorical constraints on what constitutes great art, design or functional sculpture. The works stand firmly alongside the first painters and sculptures of the post-war period. Additionally, on June 10, 2021, the “La Rêverie: The Collection of Sydell Miller” auction produced the third highest price for Francis-Xavier Lalanne at auction, reaching six times the low estimate at $ 6,630,000. . .

Why were the works they made individually sold for higher prices at auction than the works they made together?

Claude and François-Xavier Lalanne are individual artists who are often seen and presented as a single entity “Les Lalanne”, but they have distinct styles and approaches to the medium. Their work coexists and shares similar principles, but they each have their own work and their own influence on the market.

How did Lalanne’s deaths impact the prices of their works on the secondary market?

As with the death of any artist, there is a final assessment of all of their work from start to finish. Lalanne’s death was a catalyst for a reassessment of their work in the market. The sale “L’Univers Lalanne: Collection Claude & François-Xavier Lalanne” at Sotheby’s in 2019 was a galvanizing moment in the market as it presented the widest range of their work, large and small models in various patterns and editions. It is clear that the diversity and variety of all eras of Lalanne production are sought after on the market.

Who are the collectors of their works?

The universal themes and variety of Lalanne’s work have attracted an equally diverse and truly global group of collectors. These people range from international design and art collectors across Asia, Europe and the United States to interior designers doing important work for their clients, alongside celebrities, innovators and financiers. global. All these categories of buyers respond with great enthusiasm to the pleasure of owning this important art. In addition, a new class of collector has emerged and benefits from the status that accompanies the ownership and exhibition of Lalanne’s works. Equally important, there is strong support for Les Lalanne at auction within the trade, with large galleries continuing the inventory work.

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