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CLAUDE LALANNE

 

Claude Lalanne finishing the first Marcassin, 1964. Courtesy of Lalanne Estate

Claude Lalanne (née Dupeux) was born in 1925 in Paris. She studied architecture at the École des Beaux-Arts and the École Nationale des Arts Décoratifs. While living at the Impasse Ronsin in Paris with François-Xavier after they wed, American expatriate sculptor James Metcalf introduced them to techniques of working with metal, and together, Metcalf and Claude taught themselves the old-fashioned technique of galvanoplasty, or electroplating. Claude experimented with the galvanic baths until she was an expert, developing a process that became one of her hallmarks. She became known for sculpture and jewelry made by galvanizing organic materials—flower petals, vines, small animals—and then welding components together in sometimes surreal combinations. Among her important clients were fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent and, later, architect Peter Marino. Works by Claude and François-Xavier Lalanne can be found in prominent collections of contemporary art worldwide as well as museums including the Cooper Hewitt Museum in New York, the Museé Nationale d’Art Moderne/Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, and the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam. Claude was active in her studio, creating new work, until her death in April 2019.