Lalanne's Mouton de Pierre 'sheep art' brings $7.5m World Record at Christie's

Have you ever wondered what the market value would be for a herd of patinated bronze sheep?

Well, the answer is now $7,474,500. This is after an artwork by the French sculptor and engraver François-Xavier Lalanne sold for a World Record price at Christie's.

Christie's Important 20th Century Decorative Art & Design sale offered Lalanne's 'Mouton de Pierre' in New York on December 17.

Dated to circa 1979, the artwork comprises 10 painted epoxy stone and patinated bronze sheep. Each measures 33 ½ inches (or 85cm) tall and is autographed "FxL Lalanne".

The unique sheep art sculpture was formerly owned by the Tateshina Open Air Museum in Japan.

François-Xavier Lalanne Mouton de Pierre
Seven million in sheep... François-Xavier Lalanne's 'Mouton de Pierre'

Even more remarkable is that Lalanne's herd of sheep was estimated at just $900,000 prior to Christie's sale. It sold for more than eight times its estimate.

This isn't the first time that unique animal sculptures have sold for large amounts on the collectors' markets.

Another unusual example sold at Auctions Neapolitan in January 2010.

The 39inch wide carved tableau of a St Bernard dog and three playful pups, weighing 33 lbs and dated to circa-1900, appeared estimated at $6,000-8,000.

It was carved by artist Walter Mader, noted for his love of St Bernards, and in the end sold for $30,000.

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