Les Lalanne: Zoophites: From the Collection of Caroline Hamisky Lalanne
Curated by Paul B. Franklin

April 4 – May 9, 2024 509 West 27th Street, New York
  • Kasmin is thrilled to announce Les Lalanne: Zoophites, an exhibition in homage to the acclaimed French sculptors Claude and François-Xavier...
    Photo by Jean-Philippe Lalanne.
    Kasmin is thrilled to announce Les Lalanne: Zoophites, an exhibition in homage to the acclaimed French sculptors Claude and François-Xavier Lalanne, drawn entirely from the collection of their eldest daughter, Caroline Hamisky Lalanne. The exhibition will include major works by these inventive artists who consistently defied art-world conventions. To celebrate the 60th anniversary of Les Lalanne’s first joint solo exhibition, which opened in Paris in June 1964, this exhibition borrows the title Zoophites, an obsolete French term for invertebrate animals that resemble plants in their appearance or growth patterns. The exhibition will be accompanied by a newly commissioned text by curator Paul B. Franklin.

    A major highlight of the exhibition will be François-Xavier’s Grand Chat polymorphe (1998/2008), combining a rotating cat’s head with a fish’s tail, a bird’s wings, and a female pig’s belly and hooves, and opening to reveal a functioning bar cart. Based on a 1968 brass commission for the French architect Émile Aillaud and his wife, Charlotte, this work is one of only five realized in a large-scale bronze edition conceived in 1998. Its polymorphic structure makes explicit the inspiration François-Xavier drew from the fantastical creatures of ancient mythologies, recalling his upbringing studying classical literature, including Ovid’s Metamorphoses, and his work as a guard in the Egyptian and Assyrian galleries of the Louvre in 1949–50.
  • François-Xavier Lalanne Grand Chat polymorphe, 1998/2008 brass, bronze with stainless steel pin 72 1/4 x 117 x 25 inches 183.5...
    François-Xavier Lalanne
    Grand Chat polymorphe, 1998/2008
    brass, bronze with stainless steel pin
    72 1/4 x 117 x 25 inches
    183.5 x 297.2 x 63.5 cm
  • "'A cat has nine lives.' This one seems to be living them all at once—a cat, a bird, a horse, a she-wolf, a pig, a fish…
    —François-Xavier Lalanne
  • François-Xavier Lalanne Grand Rhinocéros V, 1994/2000 bronze with black patina 47 x 101 1/2 x 29 inches 119.4 x 257.8...
    François-Xavier Lalanne
    Grand Rhinocéros V, 1994/2000
    bronze with black patina 
    47 x 101 1/2 x 29 inches
    119.4 x 257.8 x 73.7 cm
  • Another highlight of the exhibition will be Grand Rhinocéros V (1994/2000), a unique large-scale bronze sculpture of a rhinoceros, one...
    Claude and François-Xavier in the studio with Rhinocéros I, Ury, c. 1965.
    Another highlight of the exhibition will be Grand Rhinocéros V (1994/2000), a unique large-scale bronze sculpture of a rhinoceros, one of François-Xavier’s most important motifs. “The rhinoceros remained central to his artistic output,” according to Kathleen M. Morris, curator of Les Lalanne’s recent solo exhibition at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in 2021. Following the critical success of his first rhinoceros sculpture, which opened into a functioning desk and was featured in the 1964 exhibition Zoophites, François-Xavier created several large-scale rhinoceroses over the course of his career, found today in major collections, including the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. With a shimmering black patina, Grand Rhinocéros V is the sole example executed from a 1994 design, which originally was conceived as an edition of 8. Its geometric and abstract forms are indicative of the artist’s inimitable style.
  • "With prowess and tenacity, Claude and François-Xavier Lalanne charted an inimitable path in the history of art during their more than half a century of aesthetic engagement. Les Lalanne: Zoophites pays homage to their incontrovertible achievements as artists."
    —Paul B. Franklin
    • François-Xavier Lalanne, Taureau II, 1992/2007
      François-Xavier Lalanne, Taureau II, 1992/2007
    • François-Xavier Lalanne, Gorille console, 2002/2016
      François-Xavier Lalanne, Gorille console, 2002/2016
  • Claude Lalanne Les Berces adossées, 2015 bronze 43 1/8 x 97 x 32 1/4 inches 109.5 x 246.4 x 81.9...
    Claude Lalanne
    Les Berces adossées, 2015
    bronze
    43 1/8 x 97 x 32 1/4 inches
    109.5 x 246.4 x 81.9 cm
  • Claude Lalanne Bureau Croco, 2007/2017 bronze 34 1/2 x 60 1/2 x 23 1/2 inches 87.6 x 153.7 x 59.7...
    Claude Lalanne
    Bureau Croco, 2007/2017
    bronze
    34 1/2 x 60 1/2 x 23 1/2 inches
    87.6 x 153.7 x 59.7 cm
  • Claude Lalanne Bambiloba II, 2005/2012 bronze 43 1/8 x 43 1/2 x 30 1/2 inches 109.5 x 110.5 x 77.5...
    Claude Lalanne
    Bambiloba II, 2005/2012
    bronze
    43 1/8 x 43 1/2 x 30 1/2 inches
    109.5 x 110.5 x 77.5 cm
  • Additional motifs included in the exhibition will be Claude’s signature use of the ginkgo leaf, as seen in Les Berces adossées (2015), a unique work recently exhibited at the Clark Art Institute. The ginkgo leaf entered Claude’s visual vocabulary in the mid 1990s, when an American couple—friends and collectors of Les Lalanne—brought her examples of the fanlike foliage gathered during a trip to Japan. Claude initially created jewelry based on the gingko leaf before integrating it on a larger scale into series of chairs, benches, and tables, which would be displayed in landmark exhibitions of her work in the ensuing decades.

    Claude’s celebrated use of electroplated crocodile skin will also be featured in the exhibition. Soon after she was given a small stuffed crocodile by a staff member at the Jardin des plantes in Paris in 1972, she began creating furniture that showcased crocodiles. Molded from store-bought taxidermy, Claude’s singular electroplating process fused a copper coating on the forms before finishing them in bronze or aluminum.

  • François-Xavier Lalanne Grand Bouquetin, 1999/2016 bronze and black patina 39 3/4 x 54 1/4 x 11 inches 101 x 137.8...
    François-Xavier Lalanne
    Grand Bouquetin, 1999/2016
    bronze and black patina
    39 3/4 x 54 1/4 x 11 inches
    101 x 137.8 x 27.9 cm
  • "Picture Claude’s hand at work, imagine a giant ginkgo forest tousled by a strong breeze, and then watch the falling leaves reassemble themselves into tables, chairs, benches."
    —François-Xavier Lalanne

    • Claude & Francois-Xavier Lalanne, Singe aux nénuphars, 2008/2010
      Claude & Francois-Xavier Lalanne, Singe aux nénuphars, 2008/2010
    • François-Xavier Lalanne, Oiseau de Peter branché (grand) (Modèle de montage), 2004
      François-Xavier Lalanne, Oiseau de Peter branché (grand) (Modèle de montage), 2004
    • Claude Lalanne, Ginkgo trifolia, c. 2000/2010
      Claude Lalanne, Ginkgo trifolia, c. 2000/2010
    • François-Xavier Lalanne, Paire de chenets Éléphants de Meryll, 1999/2000
      François-Xavier Lalanne, Paire de chenets Éléphants de Meryll, 1999/2000
    • François-Xavier Lalanne, Lapin polymorphe (moyen), 2006
      François-Xavier Lalanne, Lapin polymorphe (moyen), 2006
  • Though François-Xavier and Claude shared a home, occupied neighboring studios, and exhibited jointly, they seldom worked together. The exhibition will include a few of their rare collaborative creations, including Singe aux nénuphars (2008/2010), comprising a seated monkey designed by François-Xavier which supports a circular tabletop of Claude’s water lily leaves; Centaure (moyen) (1995/2008), featuring a human torso and arms by Claude and a horse’s body and legs by François-Xavier; and Le Merle perché (2006/2008), depicting a blackbird atop a vertical branch that elegantly captures the exuberance and zeal that define the few projects on which the artists worked collaboratively.
    • François-Xavier Lalanne, Éléphantine (table à éléphant), 2002/2012
      François-Xavier Lalanne, Éléphantine (table à éléphant), 2002/2012
    • Claude & Francois-Xavier Lalanne, Le Merle perché, 2006/2008
      Claude & Francois-Xavier Lalanne, Le Merle perché, 2006/2008
  • François-Xavier Lalanne Direction de l'escargot, 1996/2008 bronze and black patina 21 x 33 x 16 inches 53.3 x 83.8 x...
    François-Xavier Lalanne
    Direction de l'escargot, 1996/2008
    bronze and black patina
    21 x 33 x 16 inches
    53.3 x 83.8 x 40.6 cm
  • François-Xavier Lalanne Requin (petit), 2003/2011 bronze with black patina 9 1/4 x 24 1/2 x 5 1/4 inches 23.5 x...
    François-Xavier Lalanne
    Requin (petit), 2003/2011
    bronze with black patina
    9 1/4 x 24 1/2 x 5 1/4 inches
    23.5 x 62.2 x 13.3 cm
  • Claude Lalanne Arabesque, 2018 bronze 61 1/2 x 166 x 2 1/2 inches 156.2 x 421.6 x 6.3 cm
    Claude Lalanne
    Arabesque, 2018
    bronze
    61 1/2 x 166 x 2 1/2 inches
    156.2 x 421.6 x 6.3 cm
  • "Such an exceptional assemblage, including three rare collaborative pieces alongside several iconic masterworks, demonstrates the rich scope of their production in which meticulous artistry and artistic invention were indivisible."
    —Paul B. Franklin 
  • Claude & Francois-Xavier Lalanne Centaure (moyen), 1995/2008 patinated bronze 48 1/2 x 33 1/2 x 14 1/2 inches 123.2 x...
    Claude & Francois-Xavier Lalanne
    Centaure (moyen), 1995/2008
    patinated bronze
    48 1/2 x 33 1/2 x 14 1/2 inches
    123.2 x 85.1 x 36.8 cm
  • François-Xavier Lalanne Wapiti (petit), 1988/1999 bronze with dark brown patina 28 1/2 x 17 x 14 inches 72.4 x 43.2...
    François-Xavier Lalanne
    Wapiti (petit), 1988/1999
    bronze with dark brown patina
    28 1/2 x 17 x 14 inches
    72.4 x 43.2 x 35.6 cm
  • François-Xavier Lalanne Chien héroïque II (petit), Loulou, 1994/2002 bronze and stone pedestal from Burgundy 62 x 14 1/4 x 11...
    François-Xavier Lalanne
    Chien héroïque II (petit), Loulou, 1994/2002
    bronze and stone pedestal from Burgundy
    62 x 14 1/4 x 11 3/4 inches
    157.5 x 36.2 x 29.8 cm
  • Claude Lalanne Banc Williamsburg, 1985/2011 bronze 30 3/4 x 81 x 20 3/4 inches 78.1 x 205.7 x 52.7 cm
    Claude Lalanne
    Banc Williamsburg, 1985/2011
    bronze
    30 3/4 x 81 x 20 3/4 inches
    78.1 x 205.7 x 52.7 cm
  • Claude Lalanne Lapin Chou III, 2000/2012 bronze 9 1/2 x 11 x 5 inches 24.1 x 27.9 x 12.7 cm
    Claude Lalanne
    Lapin Chou III, 2000/2012
    bronze
    9 1/2 x 11 x 5 inches
    24.1 x 27.9 x 12.7 cm
  • Claude Lalanne Portrait cubique d'Alexandre Iolas, 1974 gilt bronze 9 3/4 x 6 1/2 x 7 5/8 inches 24.8 x...
    Claude Lalanne
    Portrait cubique d'Alexandre Iolas, 1974
    gilt bronze
    9 3/4 x 6 1/2 x 7 5/8 inches
    24.8 x 16.5 x 19.4 cm
  • François-Xavier Lalanne Chien prosaïque II (petit), 1987/2010 patinated bronze 16 1/4 x 22 1/2 x 10 1/2 inches 41.3 x...
    François-Xavier Lalanne
    Chien prosaïque II (petit), 1987/2010
    patinated bronze
    16 1/4 x 22 1/2 x 10 1/2 inches
    41.3 x 57.1 x 26.7 cm
  • François-Xavier Lalanne Théière canard, 2003 bronze with gold patina 7 x 10 1/2 x 3 3/4 inches 17.8 x 26.7...
    François-Xavier Lalanne
    Théière canard, 2003
    bronze with gold patina
    7 x 10 1/2 x 3 3/4 inches
    17.8 x 26.7 x 9.5 cm
  • "Claude’s and François-Xavier’s vibrant universe of flora and fauna exposes, with brio and mirth, the utter arbitrariness, even the fatuity of the sacrosanct divisions that have circumscribed the fine and applied arts since the nineteenth century."
    —Paul B. Franklin
    • François-Xavier Lalanne, Double Tourterelle, 1998/2001
      François-Xavier Lalanne, Double Tourterelle, 1998/2001
    • Claude Lalanne, Crococurule, 1992/2013
      Claude Lalanne, Crococurule, 1992/2013
    • Claude Lalanne, Petit fauteuil papillon, 2011
      Claude Lalanne, Petit fauteuil papillon, 2011
    • François-Xavier Lalanne, Oie sauvage, 2002
      François-Xavier Lalanne, Oie sauvage, 2002
    • François-Xavier Lalanne, L'Oiseleur, 2004
      François-Xavier Lalanne, L'Oiseleur, 2004
    • Claude Lalanne, Candélabre (sans feuilles), 1999/2014
      Claude Lalanne, Candélabre (sans feuilles), 1999/2014
    • François-Xavier Lalanne, Le Dormeur (petit), 2007
      François-Xavier Lalanne, Le Dormeur (petit), 2007
    • Claude Lalanne, Chaise ginkgo, 1996/2018
      Claude Lalanne, Chaise ginkgo, 1996/2018
  • Kasmin has organized over 10 solo exhibitions of Les Lalanne’s work since 2007, both at the gallery and at public venues across the United States, including the Kasmin Sculpture Garden, New York (2021); Getty Station, New York (2013); Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Coral Gables, FL (2010–11) and Park Avenue, New York (2009). 
  • About the Artists

    Les Lalanne
    Photo by Jean-Philippe Lalanne

    Les Lalanne

    Known individually and collectively as Les Lalanne since 1966, Claude’s and François-Xavier’s artistic practices were deeply entangled. Their respective creative processes nonetheless remained recognizably distinct over their decades-long careers. Claude’s sculptures typically mimic the flora of her surroundings, such as a ginkgo leaf, a branch, or an apple. Having resuscitated the Renaissance art of casting forms from life, while also employing the more recent technique of electroplating, Claude achieved a delicacy and sensitivity in her work largely unparalleled in cast bronze. By contrast, François-Xavier is renowned for his life-size sculptures of animals, a practice inspired in part by his time working as a guard in the Egyptian and Assyrian galleries of the Musée du Louvre in Paris. With much time to study the massive Apis Bull, François-Xavier would later acknowledge that “the animal world offers an infinite repertory of forms connected to a universal symbolism” that “children as well as adults are sensitive to.” François-Xavier’s oeuvre demonstrates his commitment to the artistic tradition of zoomorphism through a Surrealist aesthetic, often making creatures that recall the dreamworlds of Lewis Carroll.

    Learn More
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