Chic Sheep

“They are not furniture, they are not sculpture–call them ‘Lalannes’.”

Mention the name Lalanne to a serious collector and the image of flocks of whimsical, life-size sheep grazing in the world’s most beautiful homes immediately comes to mind. Sheep are synonymous with this famous husband-wife artistic duo.

Claude and Francois-Xavier met in 1952 and began collaborating artistically in 1956. Sharing a passion for animals and nature, their first exhibition in 1964 was called “Zoophites”. Known by their moniker ‘Les Lalanne’, the world Les Lalanne is a realm where Surrealism Nouveau Realisme, and anthropomorphism merge, where every creaetion is a playful, whimsical and unique merging of the decorative and fine arts. Their work is also functional, meant to be touched or sat on, even slept on.

From the 1960’s and onwards, Le Lalanne caught the attention of an entire generation and soon had a devoted following among notable private collectors around the world who either purchased or commissioned their works. Fashion luminaries such as Coco Chanel, Hubert de Givenchy, Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Berge, Karl Lagerfeld, Valentino, and more recently Marc Jacobs, John Galliano, and Tom Ford are some of the Lalanne’s major collecting fans. The Lalanne’s even collaborated with Yves Saint Laurent for one of his collections, designing moulded bronze breastplates and bustiers that served as the bodices for some of his gowns.

Not unexpectedly, auction prices have continued to skyrockt in recent years for the coveted Lalanne sheep as well as the fantastical bronze furniture created in a variety of animal shapes and sizes. The gilt bronze crocodile banquette fetched an incredible $482,500 at Christie’s in December 2009.

Les Lelanne definitely practiced their own philosophy. Francois-Xavier famously said, “The supreme art is the art of living”. We couldn’t agree more.

On Madison believes in practicing the art of living every single day, in even the smallest details. Our collage of the Lalanne’s work is a testament that everything in your home should bring a smile.


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