This winter, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, will present 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, will feature more than twenty sculptures, including works never before publicly exhibited in the U.S., and one multi-piece work comprised of more than a dozen individual sculptures, to be 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 will open on November 30, 2010, to coincide with Art Basel Miami Beach, and will remain on view through May 31, 2011.
Drawing surrealist imagery from flora and fauna, the Lalanne’s sculptures will 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 will be 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. to be featured in the monumental exhibition include, Claude and François-Xavier 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; and François-Xavier’s Canard sur L’Eau; Genie 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; La Grande Ourse, a monumental bronze bear drawn into an upright stance; and 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.
Accompanying the kingdom of the Lalanne’s animal-inspired works will be 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--both sculptures also 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 will be: 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 (1996), a North-American deer that looks over its shoulder, making viewers aware of the animals’ perspective. Also to be shown are François-Xavier Lalanne’s (1927–2008) final sculpture, Singe Avisé (Très Grand), a regal monkey seated with his legs crossed and a pensive expression; and, Moutons (1988–1994), which features a life-size flock of more than a dozen sheep and lambs, crafted from epoxystone and bronze.
The beauty of the garden’s world-renowned landscape will also be 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 will be François-Xavier’s Requin (Grand), a sleek white bronze shark complete with stylized gills and dynamic fins which was last seen at Fairchild in December of 2007 after a year of exhibition.
Les Lalanne at Fairchild is being presented in conjunction with Paul Kasmin Gallery, New York.
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 Lalanne’s 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.
About Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden is dedicated to exploring, explaining and conserving the world of tropical plants. It is one of the premier conservation and education-based gardens in the world and a recognized international leader in both Florida and international conservation. Currently Fairchild has field programs in over 20 countries including support to protected areas in Madagascar and Africa and botanic garden development and renovation projects in South and Central America, the Caribbean, Middle East and China. Fairchild houses the National Palm and Cycad collections as recognized by the American Public Gardens Association (APGA), has the world’s greatest living collection of palms and cycads; an education program reaching more than 70,000 school children per year; hosts popular events like the International Chocolate Festival, International Mango Festival and International Orchid Festival, the Ramble, concerts, plant shows and sales and more, and, is a not-for-profit organization relying on the support of its 45,000 members and benefactors. Fairchild hosts major art events such as Les Lalanne at Fairchild this year, Yayoi Kusama at Fairchild last year, Mark di Suvero, Fernando Botero, Dale Chihuly and Kris Martin at Fairchild in 2008, Botero, Lichtenstein and Chihuly at Fairchild in 2007, and Chihuly at Fairchild in 2005 and 2006. Fairchild is located at 10901 Old Cutler Road, Coral Gables (Miami), Florida 33156, just a thirty-minute drive from South Beach. Admission is $20 for adults, $15 for seniors, and $10 for children 6-17 and free to children 5 and under and Fairchild members. For more information, please visit us at fairchildgarden.org and on Facebook and Twitter.