Claude Lalanne

1924-2019, French

A vermeil mimosa leaf necklace, Late 20th century

Stamped: C. Lalanne; Further stamped: Artcurial / 39/100 / 925 / [maker's mark in diamond] / [two crab hallmarks]
A vermeil necklace in the form of a realistic mimosa branch of leaves and flowers with leaf-shaped links

15" L x 2.5" H
70.4 grams

  • Notes: French artist Claude Lalanne and her husband François-Xavier have been collectively known as Les Lalannes since the 1960s. Inspired by nature, Les Lalannes created furniture, sculpture, and jewelry in humorous, poetic forms, often mixing flora and fauna in surrealistic whimsical creations.
    Claude was born in 1924 in Paris and studied architecture at the École des Beaux-Arts and the École Nationale des Arts Decoratifs. She met François-Xavier in 1953 at a reception for his first solo show of paintings and they worked together at his studio in Montparnasse, later moving to a second studio in the area before marrying in 1962.
    Their first joint show was at Galerie J in Paris from June to October 1964 and presented fourteen pieces, such as "Grand Rhinocéros I," a life-size metal sculpture with a hidden cocktail bar within its armoured plates, a perfect example of the playful, elegant, yet functional pieces created by François-Xavier inspired by the rich and varied forms of animal life.

    The thirteen further pieces by Claude, comprising sculptures, watches, and belts, embraced her love of transforming objects using various metal working techniques including imprinting, casting, and electrotyping. These pieces comprised ornamental versions of natural forms such as leaves, twigs, and found treasures from her garden transformed into wearable art by her perfected electrotyping process as well as cast versions of small animals and vegetables or combinations of these forms. The show featured the first two of many subsequent "Choupattes," Claude's surreal and whimsical treatment of a cast bronze head of cabbage with the considered addition of chicken legs, created after initially casting a cabbage, and then imagining how adding legs might improve its character!

    Claude taught herself the nineteenth century method of galvanoplasty or electrotyping, a chemical process for making metal parts that are an exact facsimile of a non-conductive object with an irregular surface, either from a woodcut for printing purposes, or of a statue or natural object for artistic purposes. Claude continued to experiment with capturing natural forms until she perfected the process that became one of her "defining hallmarks," and most certainly contributed to an abundance of "fossilized foliage and arboreal forms strewn about her workshop." In 1967, the Lalannes moved south of Paris to an old farmhouse with land in Ury, near the Fontainebleau forest. The extensive gardens were a great source of inspiration: "I never stop walking in the garden, looking at what is there and using what I grow."

    Claude's distinctive jewelry designed with "galvanized bits of nature" was initially made to adorn her friends and was later seen on couturier runways. She worked with Yves Saint Laurent in 1969, where she created a series of bronze torso body casts to be worn with sheer flowing chiffon dresses as well as some sculptural pieces of jewelry in galvanic copper. More recently, a collaboration with Maria Grazia Chiuri for her first Dior couture collection in Spring 2017 featured naturalistic jewelry of butterflies, flowers, and thorns, all frozen in time, adding to the theme invoking a woodland fairy wonderland.

    In the 1970s, Claude was commissioned by Artcurial to make editions of jewelry. Much of it was made in vermeil and in larger editions.
    This Claude Lalanne necklace of sterling silver vermeil retains every delicate detail of the original leaf veining and stellar puffball flowers of mimosa. Composed of graceful leaves, connected at artful angles, one can imagine the branchlet naturally and irregularly arranged around a neck- a carelessly draped treasure seized with pleasure from a woodland floor.

    Les Lalannes continue to be celebrated, with several noted exhibitions in the past few years, most recently at The Clark Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts and "The Lalanne at Trianon" at the Chateau de Versailles, France, each in 2021.

    François-Xavier died in 2008 and Claude continued with her creations up until her passing in 2019. "The state of her hands was proof of this!" (Louisa Guinness)


    Morris, Kathleen M. "Claude & François Lalanne: Nature Transformed." Williamstown, MA: Clark Art Institute, 2021.

    Genzlinger, Neil. "Claude Lalanne, Whimsical (and Sought-After) Sculptor, Is Dead at 93."
    New York Times, April 17, 2019.

    Guinness, Louisa. "Claude Lalanne: Overview." Louisa Guinness Gallery, London, accessed October 2022 (website).
  • Condition: Overall good condition with minor light scratches and scattered oxidation marks commensurate with age and use. Scattered areas of light wear, including slight wear to some leaf tips and to link attachments.

Accepted Forms of Payment:

American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Money Order / Cashiers Check, Personal Check, Visa, Wire Transfer


Shipping. As a courtesy to buyers, Moran provides a list of preferred shippers who are in the business of transporting antiques and works of art. Buyers are responsible for arranging their own shipping estimates and deliveries. Moran, in its sole discretion and as a courtesy to buyers, may arrange to have purchased lots packed, insured, and forwarded by a third-party shipper at the request, expense, and risk of the buyer. In circumstances where Moran arranges for such third-party services, Moran may apply an administration charge of 15% of that service fee. Moran assumes no responsibility for acts or omissions in such packing or shipping by other packers or carriers, even if recommended by Moran. Moran also assumes no responsibility for any damage to picture frames or to the glass therein.

October 25, 2022 4:00 PM PDT
Monrovia, CA, US

John Moran Auctioneers

You agree to pay a buyer's premium of up to 25% and any applicable taxes and shipping.

View full terms and conditions

Bid Increments
From: To: Increments:
$0 $499 $25
$500 $999 $50
$1,000 $1,999 $100
$2,000 $4,999 $250
$5,000 $9,999 $500
$10,000 $19,999 $1,000
$20,000 $49,999 $2,500
$50,000 $99,999 $5,000
$100,000 $199,999 $10,000
$200,000 $499,999 $25,000
$500,000 + $50,000