Claude and François-Xavier Lalanne at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden

Through May 31, 2011.

altFairchild Tropical Botanic Garden is still showing the U.S.’s largest outdoor exhibition of works by French sculptors Claude and François-Xavier Lalanne as part of its renowned, annual visual art program.

The exhibition, “Les Lalanne at Fairchild”, features more than thirty sculptures, including works never before publicly exhibited in the U.S., and one multi-piece work comprised of more than a dozen individual sculptures, installed throughout the Garden’s 83-acres of lush, tropical landscape designed by William Lyman Phillips, a key member of Central Park’s Frederick Law Olmstead architectural group for many years before moving to South Florida where he became a leading independent tropical landscape architect. The show opens Tuesday, November 30, 2010 to coincide with Art Basel Miami Beach.

Drawing surrealist imagery from flora and fauna, the Lalannes’ sculptures create an extraordinary element of surprise and wonder set within Fairchild’s botanic paradise of rare palms, cycads, and flowering plants. “Fairchild is thrilled to present the outdoor exhibition of the remarkable works of renowned French artists Claude and François-Xavier Lalanne,” said Carl Lewis, Director of Fairchild. “The artists’ exuberant sculptures set amongst Fairchild’s world-class, unusual, tropical plant collections are sure to enchant visitors of all ages, as well as support our commitment to culture in South Florida.”

The Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden’s world-famous landscape is the first in the U.S. to publicly host a series of premiere works by the renowned French artists. Works never before publicly exhibited in the U.S. featured in the monumental exhibition include Claude Lalanne’s Dimetrodon II (1998), a unique copper and steel topiary shaped in the form of a dinosaur from the Permian period, displaying a large Marlin-like fin and spouting water through shark-like teeth; François-Xavier’s Lièvre de Maillac I (fontaine) (1998), a series of four small, seated rabbits made of bronze, doubling as fountains; and François-Xavier’s Canard sur L’Eau (Grand Canard flottant) (2006); Génie de Bellerive (Grand) Sur pylone (2007), a young owl with its wings spread in tribute to artist Max Ernst, and hovering upon a tall, abstract pedestal in homage to Constantin Brancusi, a close friend of the Lalannes; Claude Lalanne’s Nouveau Lapin de Victoire (Grand) (2010), a rabbit standing upright with pole in hand, sculpted entirely of bronze; La Grande Ourse (1994), a monumental bronze bear drawn into an upright stance; Vache Paysage (La Grande) (2006), a bronze cow with its center doubling as a window through which to view the lush setting of Fairchild’s tropical gardens; and Crocodile (Banc) (2010), a bronze and brass bench that features a foliage entangled crocodile under the seat, made specially for Fairchild.

Accompanying the kingdom of the Lalannes’ animal-inspired works are Claude Lalanne’s (b. 1924) exquisite Olympe (Grande) (2001), depicting a young girl modeled after the image of the artists’ granddaughter, with cast lettuce leaves draped as a mantle upon her shoulders and a triumphant spray of water shooting up from her right hand; and Pomme d’Hiver (2008), a large-scale bronze sculpture of a golden apple which serves as an iconic piece in the artist’s oeuvre – each making their first publicly exhibited appearance in the U.S.

Traveling to the lush setting of Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden from the urban environment of New York’s Park Avenue where they appeared in Fall 2009 are: Claude Lalanne’s Choupatte (Très Grand) (2008), an anthropomorphized cabbage with bird’s feet, textured and colored by verdigris; François-Xavier’s Oiseau de nuit (Grand), (2004), a wise owl that perches knowingly atop its bronze pedestal; and François-Xavier’s Wapiti (Grand) (1996), a North-American deer that looks over its shoulder, making viewers aware of the animals’ perspective. Also shown are François-Xavier Lalanne’s (1927–2008) final sculpture, Singe Avisé (Très Grand) (2008), a regal monkey seated with his legs crossed and a pensive expression; Moutons (1988–1994), which features a life-size flock of more than a dozen sheep and lambs, crafted from epoxystone and bronze; and Poisson Paysage V, (2007), a bronze fish sculpted with its middle squarely cut out, serving as a splendid frame for the ever-changing natural beauty of Fairchild.

The beauty of the garden’s world-renowned landscape is also furthered enhanced by a series of elegant outdoor furniture pieces cast from nature by Claude Lalanne as commissioned by the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. And, making its return to the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden is François-Xavier’s Requin (Grand) (2006), a sleek white bronze shark complete with stylized gills and dynamic fins, which was last seen at Fairchild in December 2007 after a year of exhibition.

Having rediscovered the Renaissance art of casting forms from life, then employing contemporary electro-plating techniques, Claude Lalanne achieves a delicacy and sensitivity in her work unparalleled in cast bronze. François-Xavier Lalanne similarly found inspiration for his works in nature. In his words, “The animal world constitutes the richest and most varied forms on the planet.” His subjects consist of a menagerie of animals, stylized forms oftentimes married with functionality. His works achieve streamlined elegance in their profound simplicity.

The Lalannes’ work, known individually and collectively since the 1960s, has been exhibited extensively in important exhibitions, and most recently, featured on New York’s Park Avenue in the artists’ U.S. public art debut. The Lalannes are represented in major private and public collections, including: the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum (New York); Musée Nationale d’Art Moderne/Centre Georges Pompidou (Paris); Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle (Paris); the City of Paris; the City of Santa Monica; and the City of Jerusalem. Les Lalanne at Fairchild continues Fairchild’s annual exhibition of art to support its various programs and encourage cultural enhancement in South Florida. Fairchild houses internationally important collections of rare tropical fruit and cycads, as well as the largest palm collection in the U.S. The Garden maintains an international conservation program, which works with more than 20 countries to preserve some of the world’s rarest species and tropical habitats.

Les Lalanne at Fairchild is presented in conjunction with Paul Kasmin Gallery, New York.

Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden
10901 Old Cutler Road
Coral Gables, FL 33156

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