The Galerie Mitterrand is pleased to announce that it is hosting Claude Lalanne’s first solo exhibition from 14 April until 27 May 2018. This will be followed by a separate exhibition of François-Xavier Lalanne’s work, from 1 June until 28 July 2018. By exhibiting the artists’ work separately for the first time, the Galerie Mitterrand aims to emphasize each artist’s individuality, and celebrates the extraordinary relationship between Les Lalannes and Jean-Gabriel Mitterrand, a friendship that stems back to the creation of his gallery exactly 30 years ago, in 1988.
Claude Lalanne, whose work is usually associated with that of her late husband, François-Xavier, is one of the few world-renowned female French artists alive today. Les Lalannes developed parallel sets of works based on surrealist associations and filled with humor and poetry; but to each their own modus operandi. Claude Lalanne’s pieces are mainly created by making molds, casting, and electroplating. This method, which she discovered through American artist James Metcalf in 1956, is employed by metal smiths, using electrolysis to coat objects in a thin layer of metal. Claude Lalanne captures natural forms and instinctively turns them into sculptures, tables, benches, or mirrors. She has a natural sensibility for the ornamental and baroque styles, and keeps this free from her self-imposed technical constraints: “What matters is the shape and what it conveys to me.”
This premiere solo exhibition of Claude Lalanne’s work presents a panorama of her artistic works from the 1960s to the present, through a collection of some 40 pieces. The public will be able to discover works that have seldom been exhibited, such as a series of body molds created in 1975, which echo an order made by Yves Saint-Laurent for his autumn-winter collection of 1969. The sculpture L’Homme à la Tête de Chou (Man with Cabbage Head) from 1968, made famous by Serge Gainsbourg’s eponymous album, is featured alongside the artist’s emblematic, copper-plated Choupatte (Cabbage with legs). Claude Lalanne is showing three different versions of the Choupatte in this exhibition, including The Giant Choupatte,which has never been exhibited in Paris before. This exhibition is also a chance to see the artist’s most recent works, testament to her ongoing, uninterrupted creative activity. Table Serpents (Snake Table), Banc S’asseoir en Forêt (Sitting in the Forest Bench) and a large vegetal wall sculpture – all created in 2017 – form a trio of hitherto-unseen pieces straight out of the studio, alongside her emblematic Chaise Hosta (Hosta Chair) and Love Seat.
Claude Lalanne was born in Paris in 1925 and lives and works near Fontainebleau. She studied at the Ecole des Arts Décoratifs and the Ecole des Beaux-Arts de Paris. Claude and François-Xavier Lalanne have had a long-term collaboration with the gallery-owner Alexandre Iolas and have been associated since the late-1980s with the Galerie Mitterrand, where they have shown over a dozen exhibitions. The hugely successful sale of the Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé collection showed the world the importance of Claude and François-Xavier Lalanne’s works among the masterpieces assembled by the collectors over their lives. A retrospective exhibition of the artists’ work was put on in 2010 at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. Fashion house Christian Dior turned to Claude Lalanne to design their spring-summer jewelry collection in 2017.
 Lalanne, exhibition catalogue, JGM. Galerie, Paris, 2013, p. 9. Quotations collected by Dorothée Lalanne