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Les Lalanne in Saanen



February 13 - March 28, 2021

Hindergässli 1, Saanen (Gstaad)

by appointment only - book now

While our new street-level art advisory office in Saanen (Swiss Alps) is closed to the public due to present restrictions, we invited Galerie Mitterrand from Paris to take over our space.

Built as a see-through vitrine, "Saanenland Safari" brings together a historical and rare set of sculptures by Claude and François-Xavier Lalanne which the French gallery has been representing for over thirty years.

Gathered are a copper mechanical rhino, a wise monkey, and an entangled crocodile, each expressing in their own way the individual talent which brought the artist duo to international fame.

Built under lockdown which forbids the space to be open to the public, this inaugural installation plays with the notions of imprisonment and escape. Who is trapped? The three exotic animals inside the small space entirely visible from the outside? Or us humans are forbidden to enter the cage?

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The Singe Avisé is one of the last creatures François-Xavier Lalanne brought to life, contemplative and sophisticated, the animal’s humor and humanness are suggested rather than actively displayed.

François-Xavier Lalanne had conceived the idea for a tall monkey as early as 1966. He then claimed: “I would like to make a very big gorilla—very big—who eats dirty shirts.” Lalanne ended up producing a wide range of ape-inspired pieces throughout his career.

The Babouin fireplace and the Gorille de Sûreté, both introduced in the early 1970s, serve a utilitarian purpose that is omitted from the Singe Avisé. Later creations of smaller scale such as Singes II and Singe Attentif are similarly afunctional and participate in the revival of the motif towards the end of Lalanne’s career.

The largest version of this model, and the sculptor’s very last monumental sculpture, was exhibited on Park Avenue in 2009 as part of the New York City Parks Public Art Program. The model has since become one of Francois-Xavier Lalanne’s most memorable and celebrated creations.

Petit Rhinocéros Mécanique is exceptional in terms of conception and machinery, displaying a unique mechanism of doors. This model was designed in 1976 and created in an edition of 6.

The animal became a leitmotif in the artist’s œuvre and was used as the main theme for smaller objects, including extremely rare functional pieces incorporating complex mechanisms.

In 1964, François-Xavier Lalanne introduced the Rhinocrétaire to his bestiary, a large-scale, bronze-fleshed desk in the shape of a rhinoceros.

Several versions of the model followed. In 1971, Lalanne created a monumental rhino made of leather which cleverly disassembled into several independent seats.

The Banc Crocodile was designed in 2003. Several versions of the model followed, including a bigger one with two crocodiles which was shown at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in 2010 during the artists’ first retrospective in a Parisian museum, curated by Peter Marino.

Made in gilded bronze and rectangular in shape, a crocodile is crossing intertwined foliage under the seat, the four corner feet imitating crocodile legs.

Crocodile is an inexhaustible source of inspiration for Claude Lalanne. In 1972, after visiting a zoo, Claude Lalanne had the opportunity to make a mold out of a real crocodile corpse, allowing her sculptures to come alive. She has since then created a whole series of crocodile furniture (armchair, bench, console, desk, stool...).


François-Xavier Lalanne

Petit Rhinocéros Mécanique, 1982


H 24,5 x 54 x 16 cm / H 9 x 21 x 6 in


François-Xavier Lalanne

Singe Avisé (Moyen), 2005


H 40 x 31 x 26 cm / H 16 x 12 x 10 in


Claude Lalanne

Banc Crocodile (Petit), 2016

Gilt patinated bronze

H 42 x 139 x 59 cm / H 16 x 55 x 23 in



February 13 - March 28, 2021

Hindergässli 1, Saanen (Gstaad)

by appointment only - book now

During this period of restrictions, our office will be open by appointment only (with coffee) and Stéphanie Cramer will be more than happy to meet you (masked) at your chalet to examine your eventual needs.


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