FRANÇOIS-XAVIER LALANNE (1927-2008)
FRANÇOIS-XAVIER LALANNE (1927-2008)
FRANÇOIS-XAVIER LALANNE (1927-2008)
FRANÇOIS-XAVIER LALANNE (1927-2008)
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FRANÇOIS-XAVIER LALANNE (1927-2008)

Mouton de Pierre

Details
FRANÇOIS-XAVIER LALANNE (1927-2008)
Mouton de Pierre
incised with the artist’s signature and date 'LALANNE 84' (to the proper left ear)
epoxy stone and patinated bronze
34 x 36 5/8 x 15 3/4in. (86.5 x 93 x 40cm.)
Executed in 1984, this work is from an edition of two hundred and fifty plus thirty artist’s proofs
Provenance
Christian Fayt Art Gallery, Knokke-Heist.
Acquired from the above by the present owner.
Literature
Les Lalanne, exh. cat., Knokke-Heist, Christian Fayt Art Gallery, 1984, no. 20 (others from the edition illustrated in colour, unpaged).
M. Ernould-Gandouet, 'Les Lalanne dans la nature', in L'oeil, vol. 434, September 1991, p. 60 (others from the edition illustrated in colour, installation view at Château de Chenonceau in 1991, p. 61).
D. Marchesseau, Les Lalanne, Paris 1998 (others from the edition illustrated in colour, installation view at Château de Chenonceau in 1991, p. 146).
D. Abadie, Lalanne(s), Paris 2008 (others from the edition illustrated in colour, pp. 186-187, 322 and 325; installation view at Château de Chenonceau in 1991, illustrated in colour, pp. 190-191 and 335; installation view at Galerie Daniel Templon in 1985, p. 326).
Les Lalanne, exh. cat., Paris, Musée des Arts Décoratifs, 2010 (others from the edition illustrated, installation view at Château de Chenonceau in 1991, p. 142).
A. Dannatt, François-Xavier & Claude Lalanne: In the Domain of Dreams, New York 2018 (another from the edition illustrated in colour on the front cover, pp. 18 and 84-85; installation view at Château de Chenonceau in 1991, illustrated in colour, pp. 195-196).
Exhibited
Nemours, Musée de Nemours, Les Lalanne, 1983 (others from the edition exhibited).
Paris, Galerie Daniel Templon, Claude et François-Xavier Lalanne. Oeuvres Récentes, 1985 (others from the edition exhibited).
St. Louis, Greenberg Gallery, Les Lalanne, 1986 (others from the edition exhibited).
Chenonceau, Château de Chenonceau, Les Lalanne, 1991 (others from the edition exhibited, illustrated in colour on the front cover; installation view illustrated, p. 76; installation view at Musée de Nemours in 1983, illustrated, p. 122; installation view at Greenberg Gallery in 1986, illustrated, p. 127).
Special notice
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent. This lot has been imported from outside of the UK for sale and placed under the Temporary Admission regime. Import VAT is payable at 5% on the hammer price. VAT at 20% will be added to the buyer’s premium but will not be shown separately on our invoice.

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Claudia Schürch
Claudia Schürch Senior Specialist, Head of Evening Sale

Lot Essay

A recurring animal in François-Xavier Lalanne’s fanciful bestiary, these Moutons de Pierre (Stone Sheep), made from a material that evokes the colour of wool and the rigidity of stone, illustrate the artist’s semantic approach. The animal motif is an essential part of the artist’s vocabulary. Indeed, for him, the animal world offers ‘an infinite repertoire of forms linked to a universal symbolism. Children and adults alike can relate to it’ (F-X. Lalanne quoted in D. Marchesseau, Les Lalanne, Paris 1998, p. 38).

Omnipresent in Lalanne’s creative landscape, sheep appeared publicly for the first time in 1966 during the Salon de la Jeune peinture at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris. His surprising twenty-four woollen sheep caused a sensation. They were presented under the title Pour Polyphème (For Polyphemus), a whimsical evocation of Greek mythology and the episode in which Ulysses and his companions escape from the cave of Cyclopes Polyphemus by binding themselves to the undersides of sheep.

This first generation of sheep was followed by the Moutons de Pierre, whose first flock was created in 1979 for the Agen-Foulayronnes high school. These epoxy and bronze stone sheep are designed to flourish outdoors. Cast in monolithic blocks of concrete with a cloud-like cut-out, Moutons de Pierre reflect the balance of volumes and the accuracy of line that are the foundation of Lalanne's personal research. In 1949, while working as a watchman at the Musée du Louvre, he roamed through the Department of Oriental Antiquities and learned how to read a work of art. Inspired by ancient statuary from Egypt, Rome and Mesopotamia, he developed the beginnings of his formal vocabulary. The idea of establishing physical contact with the stone enabled him to grasp all its nuances: ‘On Tuesdays, when the museum was closed,’ he remembers, ‘I couldn’t resist the temptation to sit astride the Apis ox’ (F-X. Lalanne quoted in D. Abadie, Lalanne(s), Paris 2008, p. 303). His sheep, in turn, invite viewers to touch them.

Another wave of morphologically distinct sheep was born in 1988. Created for the ethnography room at the Musée de la Vallée in Barcelonnette, devoted to transhumance, these sheep were named Moutons Transhumants. A ram, an ewe and a lamb completed a new family of stone creatures at the end of the 90s under the name Les Nouveaux Moutons. A final variation of the Moutons de Pierre appeared in the 2000s, with thicker forms echoing those of the Trois Grands Moutons de Peter created at the same time, entirely in bronze with gilt patina.

Produced in 1984 in patinated bronze and epoxy stone, the two iconic Moutons de Pierre presented here are among the very earliest examples imagined by the artist. Lalanne sculpts dreams and invites them into domestic spaces: ‘It's easier to have a sculpture in a flat than a real sheep. And it's even better if you can sit on it’ (F-X. Lalanne quoted in D. Marchesseau, ibid., p. 36).

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