Claude Lalanne and Yves Saint Laurent in 1969.

FRENCH SURREALISM: Fans of Claude and François-Xavier Lalanne, the French artists known as Les Lalanne, will have an opportunity to snag a rare piece from their private collection during a two-day sale at Sotheby’s next fall.

The married couple had close ties to the fashion world, being granted commissions from the likes of Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé, Hubert de Givenchy and Karl Lagerfeld. Marc Jacobs, John Galliano, Reed Krakoff, Peter Marino and François Pinault have collected works by the Lalannes, as well.

Some 280 pieces, ranging from their whimsical sheep sculptures to a 1969 drawing by Saint Laurent, will go under the hammer on Oct. 23 and 24 at Sotheby’s Paris, the same month as the Christie’s sale of Lee Radziwill’s collection. Each item will come from the sculptors’ home and studio just outside of Fontainebleau.

François-Xavier Lalanne, who died in 2008, was known for his animalistic pieces, like his bronze bureau shaped like a rhinoceros, while Claude Lalanne favored ethereal, nature-driven works. The artist had initiated the auction before her death in April.

Saint Laurent commissioned several of the couple’s early pieces, and even collaborated with Claude Lalanne for a series of casts made for model Veruschka von Lehndorff’s body for his fall 1969 couture collection. She also designed the jewels for Maria Grazia Chiuri’s first Dior haute couture show.

“I had the privilege of knowing Claude personally, and to be introduced to the wonders of her universe and deep affinity with the natural world. It is a great honor to be able to pay tribute to these internationally renowned artists, a couple who hold today a fundamental place in the history of French art,” said Mario Tavella, managing director of Sotheby’s France and chairman of Sotheby’s Europe.

Included in the auction are pieces from artist friends of the couple, including Niki de Saint Phalle, Jasper Johns, Jean Tinguely, Max Ernst and Elaine Sturtevant. The lots will be displayed in September and October in New York, Paris, Hong Kong and London.

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