Endlessly inventive; renowned sculptor of surrealistic animals, François-Xavier Lalanne who created his own brand of surrealism with the unveiling of a life-size Annam rhinoceros ‘Rhinocrétaire’ whose side folded out into a writing desk in 1964, actually went on to generate a zoo’s worth of animals in his lifetime of work. And, out of all the French artist’s works, the most famous is the 24 sheep covered in genuine sheepskin; some with faces, others were shaggy bolsters that stood on sheep legs. Now, a flock of 24 sheep sculptures by Lalanne (1927-2008) which comes from the collection of Adelaide de Menil and her late husband, Edmund Carpenter will be is heading at Christie’s auction block, as part of the postwar and contemporary art evening sale in New York on Nov. 14, where it’s expected to fetch as much as $6 million. However, back in 2005, a flock of sheep comprising of three sheep, two white and one brown, and six Ottoman, were sold for $385,458, a price much more than its pre-sale estimate of $71,030.
Created back in 1965, the flock comprises of one black sheep among eight standing, and 16 headless grazing animals artistically made with wood, wool, and aluminum.
The couple purchased this renowned work of art back in 1976 at Paris's Galerie Alexandre lolas, where the artist had an exhibition. And, they then brought it back to the U.S., installing the creatures in a barn ‘turned into a highly-furnished living room’ on their East Hampton estate.
Notably, the sale proceeds will benefit the Rock Foundation, a charity organization established by De Menil and Carpenter.
The owner of the flock wants to sell the flock as they have been in storage ever since the sale of their East Hampton property in 2007.