Two natural, poetic works by the legendary husband and wife, Claude and François-Xavier Lalanne, stood on a pine table by Eileen Gray.
Claude Lalanne (1905-2019), pair of two gilt bronze and galvanized copper two-light sconces decorated with birds, branches and foliage: unique pieces signed and dated 2007, 41 x 30 x 10/16.1 x 11.8 x 3.9 in. and 45 x 30 x 10 cm/17.7 x 11.8 x 3.9 in.
In 2003, François-Xavier Lalanne (1927-2008) created the large Oiseau de Peter, a delicate Peter bird perched on a leafy branch. A bronze reduction was soon produced in a rare edition of eight. One of them flew over the city and through the window, landing gracefully at €208,000. This model is less mischievous than others, though still inspired by nature, as with all Lalanne’s creations. It echoes this pair of gilt bronze and galvanized copper two-light sconces, also sporting birds, created by his wife Claude in 2007: one-of-a-kind pieces that garnered €325,000 (see photo). Here their two parallel worlds, each with its own modus operandi, met in the form of a bird.
In the design section, Irish architect Eileen Gray played to her strengths as an outsider with a modernist console table featuring a geometrically cut Oregon pine top on a gilt metal tubular base. She created the model in around 1935 for her E-1027 Villa in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, and also used it in her other residences, including her apartment in Rue Bonaparte in Paris. When her collection was sold at Sotheby's in Monte-Carlo on May 25, 1980, this example went to a private collector. Here, it fetched €136,500 (see photo). Oregon pine (Pseudotsuga menziesii to those in the know) was one of her favorite materials: she used it repeatedly, pressing, brushing, staining and cutting it—the technique we see here, where the shape of the top evokes various compositions she used in her carpets.