Hervé Wahlen

Sculptor and Coppersmith

Hervé Wahlen is a French sculptor and coppersmith. He uses traditional coppersmith techniques and processes to produce sculptures and art object as well as furniture (consoles and sconces). In activity since 1983, Hervé Wahlen has collaborated with Peruvian artist Fabian Sanchez on the creation of a monumental sculpture for the 1988 Seoul Summer Olympics. He then worked as a teacher, training a new generation of master coppersmiths.

For some years now, Hervé Wahlen has been working with well-known coppersmith René-Gabriel Lacroix’s historic tools, which have been given to him by Lacroix’s heir — wooden anvils, hammers and mallets in particular. His sculptures unfurl in smooth lines and gentle, almost organic curves that are patinated and polished to a luxurious finish.

Hervé Wahlen has been exhibited many times in France, in Switzerland, in the United-States and in the United Kingdom since 1995. He has been awarded with the Prix de la Fondation de la Vocation de Paris (Vocation Foundation Grand Prize from the Council of Paris) in 1984.

Hervé Wahlen’s sculptures entered into prestigious private collections, such as Bill Gates’s Collection, Paloma Picasso’s and Peter Marino’s Collection, as well as public collections such as that of the DRAC Ile-de-France (the Regional Direction for Cultural Affairs in Ile-de-France).

Coppersmith and Sculptor

Hervé Wahlen is a French sculptor and coppersmith. He uses traditional coppersmith techniques and processes to produce sculptures and art object as well as furniture (consoles and sconces).

In activity since 1983, Hervé Wahlen has collaborated with Peruvian artist Fabian Sanchez on the creation of a monumental sculpture for the 1988 Seoul Summer Olympics. He then worked as a teacher, training a new generation of master coppersmiths.

For some years now, Hervé Wahlen has been working with well-known coppersmith René-Gabriel Lacroix’s historic tools, which have been given to him by Lacroix’s heir — wooden anvils, hammers and mallets in particular.

His sculptures unfurl in smooth lines and gentle, almost organic curves that are patinated and polished to a luxurious finish.

Hervé Wahlen has exhibited many times in France, in Switzerland, in the United-States and in the United Kingdom since 1995. He has been awarded with the Prix de la Fondation de la Vocation de Paris (Vocation Foundation Grand Prize from the Council of Paris) in 1984.

Latest Creations

Originating in traditional coppersmith techniques and enhanced with the careful application of gold leaf, Hervé Wahlen’s unique contemporary sculptures all form innovative and mysterious shapes that are inspired by Egyptian art. Hervé Wahlen first fell in love with art in 1967, when he visited the international exhibition “Tutankhamen” in the Petit Palais in Paris, which then had a great impact on his imagination.
Four of his latest artworks are vibrant examples of classically inspired shapes, with mechanisms, patinas and innovative techniques that add up to a brand new feel.

  • metal sculpture “Narcisse” — hammered and patinated copper and brass, yellow gold leaf, 60 x 30 x 22 cm, 2019.
  • metal sculpture “Dôme” — hammered and patinated copper and brass, yellow and white gold leaf, 39 x 36 x 36 cm, 2019.
  • metal sculpture “Fugue” — hammered and patinated copper, yellow gold leaf, 47 x 28,5 x 25,5 cm, 2019.
  • metal sculpture “Duo Spie VII and Spie VIII” — hammered and patinated copper, yellow gold leaf, 19 x 20 x 16 cm and 19 x 19 x 22 cm, 2019.

Sconce Collections

In a quest for innovation that transcends the boundaries between art and design, Hervé Wahlen has developed several collections of wall sconces. This brand-new series of unique artworks, both sculptural and practical, offers versatile pieces that are in between art objects and luminaires.
Each of these light sculptures is a unique, hand-made piece. While some are reproducible in limited series, others can be re-worked into custom projects for a personalized finish.

Hervé Wahlen, wall sconce “Cyclade I” — hammered, imprinted and polished red brass, LED strip light with transformer, 7 x 89 x 12,5 cm, 2020.

The wall sconce “Cyclade” collection was inspired by the shape of Greek islands, with their curvaceous volumes suddenly cut straight by the surface of the sea. As if seen upside down, these light fixtures offer three different finishes: the copper of “Cyclade I” is polished and imprinted to a very textured finish…

Hervé Wahlen, wall sconce “Cyclade II” — hammered and patinated red brass, LED strip light with transformer, 6 x 71 x 9 cm, 2020.

“Cyclade II” is patinated for a more opaque finish, both darker and displaying a subtle interplay of light and shade…

Hervé Wahlen, wall sconce “Cyclade III” — hammered and polished red brass, LED strip light with transformer, 5 x 62 x 9 cm, 2020.

“Cyclade III” is polished to an almost perfect mirror finish.

Hervé Wahlen, wall sconce “Torsion I” — hammered and polished brass and red brass, yellow gold leaf, LED bulb, 29 x 25 x 21 cm, 2020.

The “Torsion” collection revolves around an interplay of curves that are born from the influence of a weight on the metal: gravity pulls it down and shapes it into elegant twists.
“Torsion I” wall sconce’s finish is sun-like, with its golden hammered copper and the brilliance of the yellow gold leaf that covers the inside of the sconce…

Hervé Wahlen, wall sconce “Torsion II” — hammered brass and white gold leaf, LED bulb, 26 x 19 x 28 cm, 2020.

Whereas “Torsion II” wall sconce’s finish is moon-like, with its silvery surface covered in delicate white gold leaf.

Hervé Wahlen, wall sconce “Strates I” — hammered, patinated and polished brass, LED strip light with transformer, 20 x 64 x 6 cm, 2020.

“Strates I” results from a meticulous research around material: two parallel lines, both regular and irregular, distort as if because emotional. A raw effect of material is thus created, with a precise and singular interplay of patinas and techniques that give rise to a stirring feeling.

Hervé Wahlen, wall sconce “Torche” — hammered and patinated red brass, hammered and polished red brass, LED bulb, 30 x 20,5 x 11 cm, 2020.

Inspired by the shape of stakes and hardies, tools that are essential to traditional coppersmith, the wall sconce two-piece set “Torche” pays a touching homage to the very techniques of creation, in a poetical meta dimension.

Hervé Wahlen, wall sconce “Paume” — hammered and perforated brass, palladium leaf, moon gold leaf, LED strip light with transformer, 21 x 34 x 14 cm, 2020.

The “Paume” wall sconces are covered in palladium and moon gold leaves, creating an iridescent finish that is further enhanced by the perforated grid pattern with its bold interplay of light and shades. The grid pattern is inspired by the meticulous embroidery found on the traditional clothes of Chinese emperors. The special feature of this grid is the independent nature of the dots, which are neither aligned nor centered.

Console Série Relief

“Console Série Relief” is a unique and contemporary piece of furniture, created by Hervé Wahlen in 2019. This wall console integrates traditional coppersmith practices, modernizing techniques of copper sheet hammering and patinating for graphic curves and a finish with an astounding sense of touch. Inspired by the shape of Greek isles when seen from the sea, the console follows the same lines of their curves abruptly cut straight by the surface of the sea. The divided volume is then upended as if becoming a reflection in an upside down world of poetry.

  • metal console “Console Série Relief” — hammered and patinated copper and brass, white gold leaf, 12 x 166 x 19 cm, 2019.
  • metal console “Console Série Relief” — hammered and patinated copper and brass, white gold leaf, 12 x 166 x 19 cm, 2019.

Les Maisons

Paying a touching tribute to the destroyed tombs from the Palmyra necropolis, Hervé Wahlen’s “Les Maisons” is a seven-piece set of unique sculptures. As mystery boxes, each sculpture is built around a clever hidden mechanism and then further enhanced with white gold leaf. Each “house” from this contemporary yet timeless collection can open and unravel its secrets like an intriguing treasure.

Hervé Wahlen, metal sculpture “Les Maisons” — hammered and patinated copper and brass, white gold leaf, 7-piece set, 150 x 35 cm, 2019.

Sur-Mesure

Hervé Wahlen works based off a drawing or a 3D model. Driven by technical mastery, in-depth knowledge of materials and uncompromising demand for quality, Hervé Wahlen is able to draw, design and craft commissioned, custom pieces.

Public and Private Collections

Hervé Wahlen’s sculptures are part of the public collections of DRAC Ile-de-France, the Regional Direction for Cultural Affairs in Ile-de-France.

  • metal sculpture “Cheminée d’or”, 1995.
  • metal sculpture “Saturne”, 1995.
  • arworks are also part of prestigious private collections, such as Bill Gates’s Collection…
  • metal sculpture “Carré d’or”, 1996.

Barry Friedman’s Collection…

Hervé Wahlen, metal sculpture “La volonté”, 1998…

Paloma Picasso’s Collection…

Hervé Wahlen, metal sculpture “Réserve”, 2000.

Peter Marino’s Collection…

Hervé Wahlen, metal sculpture “Pensée”, 2011.

Publication

Hervé Wahlen’s work has been the object of a bilingual monographic publication of 168 pages, published in 2015 by Michel Giraud editions: Hervé Wahlen En Equilibre.

Hervé Wahlen, Current Projects

Hervé Wahlen is currently working on new wall sconces for PAD Paris art fair — to be held next October. In the meantime, his artworks are exhibited within maison parisienne’s collection in our private showroom in Paris.

Hervé Wahlen, metal sculpture “Axial” — patinated copper, yellow gold leaf, 22 x 40 x 21,5 cm, 2016.

Hervé Wahlen, metal sculpture “Vitale” — patinated copper, yellow gold leaf, 26 x 30 x 25 cm, 2016.