Following the recent Les Lalanne exhibition at the Château de Versailles as well as the major retrospective at the Museé des Arts Décoratifs in 2010, this will be the most extensive grouping of major sculptures by the duo to be shown in a gallery setting. The exhibition will feature Claude's never previously displayed Lit Hibou et 2 Tables de Chevet – a bespoke bed and two side tables commissioned for a collector – and such masterpieces as François-Xavier's ingeniously functional Hippopotame I, a life-size hippopotamus in blue resin which opens up to reveal a full bath suite, alongside the astonishing Hippopotame II (Bar). All four iterations of Claude’s surrealist Choupatte will be presented with its superbly detailed veined cabbage leaves atop whimsical chickens’ feet, with sizes ranging from a tabletop piece to a towering 180cm sculpture. François-Xavier’s Sauterelle Bar, one of two examples, with the other located at Windsor Castle, is one of his masterpieces and will be shown for the first time.
The exhibition showcases both recognizable and rarer works by each artist, touching upon all aspects of their oeuvre, with highlights including: Claude's fanciful gingko tables and chairs, flora-adorned mirrors, electroplated copper and bronze chandeliers, candelabra and lanterns, her widely celebrated Pomme and a silver cutlery service; François-Xavier's iconic Mouton, with examples in both stone and wool and other fantastical bronze bestiaries including a pair of wild boars, a monumental standing bear and a horned wild goat; and the artists' collaborative Singe aux Nénuphars, for which Claude created the tabletop that rests upon the outstretched arms of François-Xavier's monkey.
Della Gherardesca’s exhibition choreography combines the heavenly and the bucolic, constructing a dreamlike equilibrium of Yin and Yang across the two spaces. In both, the nature-based style of Les Lalanne is the leitmotif and several of the welded sculptures ‘float’ with a surreal weightlessness above the clouds. While the flagship gallery takes on the guise of a nocturnal sky, a reverent nod to the late artists, the pure bright white of Claridge’s ArtSpace is a vision of Heaven that alludes to the possibility that their works have entered this realm.
Claridge’s, the legendary hotel in the heart of Mayfair, unveiled a newly created Claridge’s ArtSpace in 2021. This space is accessed by an entrance on the newly restored Claridge’s façade on Brooks Mews, and was designed by John Pawson. Claridge’s invites its long-standing friends and gallerists within the art world to stage rotating exhibitions and shows, and has approachability at its core, with free access to all.