In 1949, before he embraced sculpture as a career, François-Xavier Lalanne would wander around the Antiquities galleries of the Louvre as a security guard. In this austere and formal environment, he would study reliefs and sculptures at night - particularly those of Ancient Egypt - sitting for hours in front of The Seated Scribe (inv. E 3023). There, his eye registered shapes, curves and the specific stylisation of ancient statuary; and in his mind the foundations were laid of his future sculptural vocabulary, which can clearly be seen in these two Singes: the figures have hieratic features and are illuminated by serene smiles, like that of the figure of Thoth as a Baboon, made around 500 BC (inv. AF2350).
“An infinite repertoire of shapes linked to a universal symbolism” (François-Xavier Lalanne in D. Marchesseau, Les Lalanne, Paris, 1998, p. 38), the animal motif suffused François-Xavier Lalanne’s Oeuvre, which throughout his entire career was populated by animals of an exceptionally symbolic nature, the most noteworthy being the sheep and the monkey, with both invading homes and cities far away from their natural habitats; in the same way these two Singes have been made to climb fireplace mantels and tables.
A highly sought-after model by Lalanne, only two gilt-bronze pairs of Singes have been offered at auction, one pair in 2022 and another pair in 2020, from the Collection of Felix Rohatyn, which established the record for the model. This playful duo therefore represent an exceptional chance to rediscover François-Xavier Lalanne's enchanted world.