SALE REVIEW / Sotheby’s: Collection Dorothée Lalanne
Records broken, estimates smashed – the passion for Les Lalanne shows no signs of abating.
AFTER ALMOST SIX hours of sale, the collection of Dorothée Lalanne was dispersed under the hammer of Sotheby’s Paris. A lively room with a strong bidding action that resulted in a white glove sale totalling €79,318,220 (€65,752,000 hammer) for the live sale against a total high estimate of €14,531,000. Each of the 81 lots performed well above their high estimate (on average 455.53% higher).
The record for a work by François-Xavier Lalanne was broken twice during the sale; first by ‘Le Minotaure’ that sold for €7,978,200 (Lot 14, hammer price €6,800,000, estimate €1-1.5 million) and a few lots after by ‘Leopard I’ that sold for €8,322,900 (Lot 41, hammer price €7,100,000, estimate €400,000-€600,000).
The lot that performed the best above its high estimate was the splendid table ‘Les Deux Capricornes Attablés’, which sold for €4,761,000 (Lot 10, hammer price €4,000,000) against an estimate of €200,000-€300,000.
Other notable bidding wars were also held for the ‘Gorille de Sureté’, which sold for €6,254,700 (Lot 28, hammer price €5,300,000) against an estimate of €400,000- €600,000 and the ‘Trois Grands Moutons de Peter’ sold for €5,105,700 (Lot 7, hammer price €4,300,000) against an estimation of €700,000- €1 million.
These results, however impressive, did not come as a complete surprise.
In 2019, Sotheby’s auctioned the estate of Claude and François Lalanne, after two days of furious bidding the total reached €91,338,71. At the time, one wondered if this sale was going to represent unprecedented heights for the prices. However, the last two years have not only demonstrated that the market for Les Lalanne is growing, but also that it is entering a more ‘mature’ stage.
Indeed, for a long time the most coveted works were the sheep (in their various versions) but in the last couple of years the demand for more sophisticated works has arisen. Last summer, Christie’s sold a table ‘Troupeau d’Éléphants’ ($6,630,000) a rare but demanding work of design. The collection of Dorothée presented lots that were less seen, not because of their rarity (they are almost all part of an edition) but because the market was not mature enough. For instance, the ‘Minotaure’ is not immediately identifiable as a work by Les Lalanne and is perhaps not as candid as most of their creations – but collectors fought for it with phones and paddles.
It is important to keep in mind that there will most likely be more sales from the Lalanne family and that private collectors that have been holding on to these more ‘sophisticated’ works might be tempted to join the party and sell.
The market still has a huge potential for growth.
Collection Dorothée Lalanne | Claude & François-Xavier Lalanne took place at Sotheby’s Paris, 4th November 2021.