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Artist's Resale Right ("droit de Suite"). If the … Read more PROPERTY FROM AN IMPORTANT PRIVATE COLLECTIONDesigned in 1968 and 1969 in blue laminated polyester resin, Hippopotame I is an iconic work imbued with the surrealist originality characteristic of the work of François-Xavier Lalanne. This life-size representation of the mammal has moving parts: its head opens onto a washbasin overhung by a circular mirror and the animal's back displays four panels, which conceal a bath. The animal, angular stone motif of François-Xavier Lalanne's artistic work is a key element in the artist's extraordinary sculptures: “The animal world provides the richest and most various shapes on the planet.” (François-Xavier Lalanne). Moreover, his works inspired by wildlife draw upon everyday objects for their shape: Hippopotame I brings together playful animal sculpture and an inventive object. At one and the same time a work of art and a bathroom, this hippopotamus embodies the desire of François-Xavier and Claude Lalanne to combine works of art and utility.The artist's work displays a logical approach to the semantics of the Lalannes. The hippopotamus, which frequents watering holes to refresh itself, proves particularly appropriate in a bathroom as the receptacle for bathwater. According to the artist, the colour also plays an important role in the impact of the sculpture on the viewer. The blue colour of the resin used as the material for creating the sculpture echoes the colour of water and is an invitation to escape and relax. The original model for this famous blue hippopotamus, created in 1968-1969, was acquired at the beginning of the 1970s by Alexina "Teeny" Duchamp, the wife of Marcel Duchamp. She had just moved into a house close to Fontainebleau and to Claude and François-Xavier Lalanne's studio and their common interest in art had brought them together.To date, there are only three known examples of this hippopotamus: two are dated from the end of the 1960s and the start of the 1970s. As for our example, it was created in 1998. The small-scale production of this model emphasises its exceptional character. For instance, the model has been displayed in a variety of prestigious exhibitions, such as the major retrospectives devoted to Claude and François-Xavier Lalanne, at Château de Chenonceau in 1991 and at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris in 2010. This work, which can be compared to a Marcel Duchamp ready-made in pop colours, represents a multitude of possibilities linked to its very nature. You look at it, you enjoy it, you bathe in it, you dream in it: “in the Lalannes's work the dreamlike function takes precedence over all the others.” (P. d'Elme, op. cit., p. 68).Like the rhinoceros, the hippopotamus is an iconic animal, which recurs in François-Xavier Lalanne's work. Throughout his career he drew and portrayed the animal, which he associated with the aquatic world, in a variety of formats and materials. The example of the Hippopotame I in brass and copper created in 1969, based on the model in polyester, met with major success on the occasion of the La Ménagerie auction organised by Christie's in November 2019 in New York.

Hippopotame I

Hippopotame I
Monogramed, signed, numbered and dated 'FxL LALANNE 1/1 98' (on the back)
blue laminated molded polyester resin and brass
49 5/8 x 111 ½ x 34 5/8 in. (126 x 283 x 88 cm.), closed
Executed in 1998.
Galerie Guy Pieters, Knokke-Heist
Acquired from the above by the present owner, 1998
P. D'Elme, "Les Lalannes : ils parlent", Galerie des Arts, no. 85, 1 February 1970, p. 22 (another example illustrated).
N. Martin, "The 1970 Parisian, ...", Chicago Tribune, 16 February 1970, p. 44 (another example illustrated).
B. Rooke, "Les Lalannes", Mobilia, no. 181, August 1970, n. p. (another example illustrated in color).
F. Bertin, "Un bestiaire pour l'environnement", Votre Maison, no. 135, August-September 1970, p. 48 (another example illustrated in color).
V. Merlin, "Pour vous, un zoo dans votre salon", Paris Match, no. 1206, 17 June 1972, p. 59 (another example illustrated).
P. Restany, "Les Lalanne ou le rêve à la maison", Domus, no. 518, January 1973, p. 38 (another example illustrated in color).
"Atelier Lalanne", Architectural Digest, February 1981, pp. 112 and 116 (another example illustrated in color).
D. Abadie, Lalanne(s), Paris, 2008, pp. 113-115 (illustrated in color).
P. Kasmin, Claude & François-Xavier Lalanne, Art, Work, Life, New York, 2012, n. p. (another example illustrated in color).
A. Dannatt, François-Xavier & Claude Lalanne, In the Domains of Dreams, New York, 2018, pp. 79 and 194-195 (another example illustrated in color).
Special notice

Artist's Resale Right ("droit de Suite"). If the Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer also 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 item will be transferred to an offsite warehouse after the sale. Please refer to department for information about storage charges and collection details.

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