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Lalanne-mania in Paris: Sotheby's Lalanne Auction breaks records
François-Xavier Lalanne, Rhinocrétaire (“Rhinodesk”), 1991. Patinated welded copper and metal, the fall-front opening to reveal a writing surface. Monogrammed FXL, stamped LALANNE, dated 91 and numbered 1/1 on one thigh, 126 x 255 x 72 cm ; 49 ⅝ x 100 ⅜ x 28 ⅜ in. Lot sold: €5,404,400. Courtesy Sotheby’s.

PARIS.- The two-day auction of the personal collection of the late artist duo Claude and François-Xavier Lalanne drew to a close at Sotheby’s Paris tonight, with an outstanding €91,293,713 ($101,470,223) – four times the pre-sale estimates (est. €15.9 – 23m / $17.6 – 25.7m) and the highest total for a private art collection sold in France in the last 10 years. 100% of the lots offered over the course of the two-day sale sold and 96% of them achieved prices above high estimate.

Florent Jeanniard, Head of 20th Century Design at Sotheby’s Europe, said: “The Lalannes’ oeuvre has a universal appeal which was reflected by the enormous excitement the sale generated around globe. The auction which gathered over 4,100 collectors from 43 countries is a huge tribute to the whimsical genius of the couple.”

Mario Tavella, Président-directeur général of Sotheby’s France and Chairman Sotheby’s Europe said: “The results achieved are testament to the immense contribution of Claude and François-Xavier Lalanne to the history of 20th-century art. We are also very proud to have realised the highest total ever achieved for a Sotheby’s sale in France.”

The vast majority of the lots in the sale were significant artworks created and treasured by “Les Lalanne”. Among such pieces were:

• The top lot of the sale was a monumental Rhinocrétaire (“Rhinodesk”) which realised €5,404,400 ($6,006,828), five times the high estimate of €700,000 - 1,000,000. A unique piece from 1991, this unique copper and metal rhinoceros is transformable into a writing desk.

• Lapin à vent, a large gilt patinated bronze rabbit from 2007 sold for €2,532,500 ($2,814,798) (est. €400,000 - 600,000).

• Grand Mouflon de Pauline - a hollowed-out bronzed mouflon from 2008 that doubles as a bar cabinet – achieved €2,412,500 ($2,681,421) (est. €400,000 - 600,000).

• A three-meter tall bronze bear (“Ours”) – one of the “fantastique beasts” that inhabited the Lalannes’ garden - fetched a roaring €2,292,500 ($2,548,045) (est. €400,000 - 600,000).

• A world auction record for Claude Lalanne was set yesterday evening, when her Grand Choupatte (“Cabbage Feet”), a large bronze cabbage on chicken legs from 2012, with versions included in the world’s leading museums and art collections, achieved €2,172,500 ($2,414,669) – ten times the high estimate (est. €150,000 - 200,000 / $166,000-221,000).

• Lapin de Victoire - a standing rabbit made of bronze from 2013 realised €1,632,500 ($1,814,475) (est. €500,000-700,000).

• Her famous Crocodile Desk from 2009, Bureau Crocodile - one of the most masterful interpretations of the artist’s “Croco” motif - fetched €1,572,500 ($1,747,787) (est. €400,000 - 600,000).

The sale also featured works by artists who were friends of the duo, including Niki de Saint Phalle, Jean Tinguely, Max Ernst, William N. Copley, Jasper Johns and Elaine Sturtevant.

• A Raysse Peinture à Haute Tension by Sturtevant sold for €225,000 ($250,081) (est. €60,000 - 80,000).

• A Box in a Valise (From or by Marcel Duchamp or Rrose Sélavy) sold for €162,500 ($180,614) (est. €40,000-60,000). Conceived between 1935 and 1941, this leather suitcase contains 80 reproductions and miniature replicas of works by Duchamps.

• Over 4,100 participants from 43 countries

• 9 hours of intense bidding • Activity came from around the world: Europe, North and South America, Asia and the Middle East.

• 2,500 people visited the five-day exhibition in Paris

• The pre-sale high estimate for the whole sale was surpassed after the sale of lot 22

• 26 lots sold above $1m

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