Paul Kasmin Gallery offers an intimate look into the world of this unusual French duo.
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French husband-and-wife artists Claude Lalanne and the late François-Xavier Lalanne, who have exhibited together since the 1960s under the joint name Les Lalanne, have had memorable appearances in such august settings as the Christie’s sale of the Yves Saint Laurent collection, the Cooper-Hewitt Museum, and the Centre Pompidou and Museé Des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. From May 4 to June 16, Chelsea’s Paul Kasmin Gallery will showcase more than 30 of the couple’s inventive, sculptural works.
Gallerist and photographer Kasmin has documented Les Lalanne more than any other artist during his career, and in the process he has come closer to the duo than most. For this exhibit, Kasmin curated a selection of sculptures that showcase each artist’s voice. Claude Lalanne’s signature gingko motif, a recurring image that derives from the artist’s garden work, appears in the five-foot-tall bronze throne Trône de Pauline (moyen), which will make its first U.S. appearance in this show. And several of François-Xavier’s surreal and functional animal-inspired pieces will be on view, including his cast iron Babouin, which stows a working fireplace in the belly of a baboon, and Hippopotame I, a hippopotamus sculpture in blue polyester resin.
It doesn’t take long to become enchanted by the work and understand Kasmin’s fascination—which is why it’s especially fortunate that a book of intimate, never-before-seen photographs taken by Kasmin in the home and studio of Les Lalanne will be released by Rizzoli in conjunction with the exhibit.