Claude Lalanne has died | House & Garden

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The French sculptor Claude Lalanne, known for her playful, surreal works of art in copper and bronze, has died aged 93, after a short stay in hospital. Her nature-inspired work featured flora and fauna, often with an absurd touch, like her laughing crocodiles, and Choupatte (2016), a cabbage with the feet of a chickens. The pair employed bronze casting and other metalworking techniques to create their designs, and infused them with a sense of humour and joy. As Claude said to Christie's in 2016, ‘I’d rather my art was smiling than severe’.

Claude Lalanne has died | House & Garden

Lalanne was born in Paris in 1924, and became famous alongside her husband François-Xavier as 'Les Lalanne'. François-Xavier created one of the pair's most recognisable works - parades of woolly sheep that became instantly popular and appeared in public places as well as private collectors' homes. The functonality of their design was key - even the sheep were supposed to be sat on. From almost the beginning of their lives together, the couple were in demand among their stylish, creative Parisian contemporaries. Yves Saint Laurent was an early patron, and Claude even created gilt metal castings from the body of supermodel Veruschka, which she wore as part of the show for YSL's Autumn-Winter 1969 haute couture collection. In 1976 the singer Serge Gainsbourg put Claude Lalanne’s sculpture L’Homme à Tête de Chou, or ‘The Man with the Head of a Cabbage’, on the front cover of his album of the same name.

Claude Lalanne has died | House & Garden

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The couple exhibited together until the death of François-Xavier in 2008, and Claude then continued to show her own work and to make covetable electroplated jewellery, pieces of which were commissioned for the Dior Spring couture show in 2017. Prices for Lalanne's work could be stratospheric. In 2016, a chandelier she produced for Zeineb and Jean-Pierre Marcie-Riviere in 1996 sold for more than $2 million at Christie’s Paris.

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