Christie’s Smashed Its Design Sale Record With an Eye-Popping $77 Million Lalanne Auction

Most lots sold well above their high estimates, with 18 lots selling for more than $1 million.

François-Xavier Lalanne, 'Âne Planté' (2000). Courtesy of Christie's.

Leave it to Christie’s to break its own design sale record with a whopping $77,043,008 cashout from its December 7 event, Sculpting Paradise: The Collection of Marie Lalanne, the first dedicated Lalanne sale in the United States.

The excitement happened at the house’s Rockefeller Center location, with the auction bringing buyers an array of classic pieces from 20th-century icons Claude & François-Xavier Lalanne. The selection came fresh from their daughter’s private collection, and the success sent 100 percent of its offerings into the hands of appreciative buyers. The selling prices came in at 319 percent above the low estimates, with 88 percent of lots selling above the high estimates, and 18 works selling for more than $1 million. 

Bidders came in a veritable symphony of ways: in the room, online, and on the phone, with 20 percent of registrants being new to the Christie’s world. The star of this show was Âne Planté at an impressive $8,405,000, which was more than 28 times its low estimate and a world record for the model. Second place went to Les Trois Grands Moutons de Peter at $6,300,000, more than four times its low estimate. And tying for the bronze medal (while also actually made of bronze), Grand Requin and La Grande Ourse each sold for $3,660,000. 

François-Xavier Lalanne, Les Trois Grands Moutons de Peter (2007). Courtesy of Christie’s.

Alex Heminway, Christie’s International Head of Design, told Artnet News, “It was a great privilege to offer the first-ever dedicated Lalanne single-owner auction in the United States. Vigorous international bidding across the eight-hour sale, which quadrupled its low estimate, was a persuasive argument that the 40-year Lalanne auction market is a durable one.”

About the sculptural objects’ appeal to collectors, Heminway added, “More poetically speaking, Les Lalanne are fierce agents of a visual poetry that continues to resonate deeply with clients.”

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