Claude Lalanne’s Metallic Garden Bench is for sale in the September 30, 2019 Design Auction. Estimated auction price is $120k-$180K.
Art, nature, camouflage, and high-style furniture design all come together in a rare Claude Lalanne garden bench offered in Heritage’s September 30thDesign Auction. Commissioned by the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation for the Lila Acheson Wallace Garden in 1984, the bench appears to be made of fronds and reeds. The elements blend with a garden environment, designed to be accidently discovered by a visitor, and then used for a moment of respite. The bench is artifice passing for nature, a sculpture to be occupied, not only seen.
With a home and studio in Ury, France near the Fontainebleau forest, Claude Lalanne (1925-2019) certainly knew gardens, and her body of work playfully borrows elements from the natural world incorporating notions from French Surrealism and Art Nouveau. “I never stop walking in the garden,” she told The Financial Times in 2017, “looking at what is there and using what I grow.” Clippings from her surroundings were cast as elements in jewelry and sculpture. The palm fronds and twigs comprising the supports of this bench are just such found elements. Her husband, sculptor François-Xavier Lalanne, described Claude’s work as “the peaceful cultivation of a metallic garden.” Indeed, her pieces are whimsical dream garden furniture, flora captured as bronze.
While indeed whimsical, the figural and artisan work from the Les Lalannes altier has achieved critical and marketplace notoriety in the last decade of Claude Lalanne’s life. The whimsy is no joke, it has become serious art. This bench is an opportunity not only for followers of high-style furniture design from American institutions, but more aptly for art collectors.