02 February, 2011

Surrealistic menagerie: François-Xavier Lalanne

“Everyone can recognize animals... You don’t have to explain what they are or mean.” Ancient Egyptian and Greek gods, Celtic Mythology, medieval bestiary, Indian totems... animal symbolism has been engrained in all cultures and religions. We are mesmerised over and over again.

Lalanne's whimsical sculptures achieve record prices at art auctions. His work became very popular in 1976, when French singer and songwriter Serge Gainsbourg published his album with the title and cover inspired directly by one of the sculptures - "The man with the head of a cabbage".

Inspired by Brancusi, Ernst, Man Ray and Duchamp, Lalanne created his own brand of surrealism, inhabited by herds of sheep, iron rhinoceroses, dinosaurs and baboons. His work was also influenced by ancient Egyptian and Assyrian art, seen everyday at the Louvre, where he worked as an attendant for a short period. 

Lalanne's works are almost impossible to classify, balancing somewhere on the border between fine art and design. They were created with childlike joy and surreal sense of humour, and I think this is why we find them so intriguing...

images via: The Selvedge Yard


  1. So cool. I love the sheep!!

    Ingrid :)

  2. great post! wonderful text! incredible images! love Lalanne's work. I read an article about him yesterday but your post is much better. well done!!!

  3. Maria, thanks for your enthusiastic comment :)
    Where did you read about Lalanne?

  4. love so much Lalanne and his wife work...i'd like to have the rhino in my house....but i's the bed or the rhino!!!!! grrrrrr....so the choice is done!!!!!
    Nice day to you

  5. I have to agree, the sheeps are such a funny and cool creation:)!!!
    I feel inspired, there are no limits when it comes to creativity, and that´s what´s so fabolous about it!

  6. those are really cool! you always find the neatest things, i love it

  7. These are fabulous! Especially the sheep! :)

  8. Wow...those are so amazing!!! I love the sheep:) Have a great day

    Ps: I am hosting Paloma’s Nest GIVEAWAY today:).Just in time for Valentine’s Day!

  9. Adore his art so fun and interesting Lalanne I will have to read more on him.

    Fabulous giveaway on my site by Splenderosa!

    Art by Karena

  10. This is really creative! I am speechless...really fun, and especially the sheeps!


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