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01 July 2016

Claude Lalanne at the Louisa Guinness Gallery

Until July 29th 2016 the Louisa Guinness Gallery in London is presenting the jewelry of the artist Claude Lalanne. A moment of pure poetry between original pieces and contemporary editions.

Louisa Guinness specializes in jewelry artists and met Claude Lalanne in 2002. She has chosen to exhibit pieces exclusively created by her, and yes it is customary to speak of the works of Lalanne – meaning Claude and François-Xavier, her husband – but for jewelry, she has always worked alone. True miniature sculptures that are influenced by Art Nouveau, nature and the plants and animals found in her garden at Fontainebleau. With disturbing realism, most are finished using an electroplating technique that copper-coats the leaves, holly berries and flower petals. Like her acquaintances Brancusi, Saint Laurent and Niki de Saint Phalle, she also borrows from Surrealism and is guided by plays on words, shapes and materials.

The exhibition presents 50 years of creation through reissues and contemporary pieces by this artist who, at age 92, continues to produce. “Her fingers still bear traces of torch burns”, says the gallery owner who often visits her in her studio workshop. All the jewelry is for sale with the exception of few personal pieces lent by Claude Lalanne, one of which is a jewel box in the form of a small cupboard. Do not expect to find the bust molded onto the model Verushka in 1969 for Yves Saint Laurent and exhibited at the Musée des Arts décoratifs in Paris in 2010, or the “Cabbage Leaf” bracelet that sold for 23,750 US dollars at Christie’s in New York in June 2012, when it was originally estimated to go at between 2,000 to 3,000 US dollars. For a good reason, as many pieces today belong to museums and private collectors.

For 30 years the work of Lalanne, who has always had such fervent admirers as the Rothschilds or Noailles, has been bolstered by the enthusiasm of the architect Peter Marino. And the current craze was also amplified by the incredible visibility she received during the Yves Saint Laurent-Bergé sale held at the Grand Palais in 2012. Claude Lalanne being the only living contemporary artist of this collection.

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