Arman was one of the most prolific and innovative artists to emerge from the French Pop Art movement. A founder of the artistic group Nouveau Réalisme, he sought to find “new ways of looking at the real.” We celebrate the visionary artist, and have offered his work in more than 80 auctions to date.
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Five Things to Know About Arman
Arman met Yves Klein at the age of 19 in their hometown of Nice, France. Klein introduced the art of Vincent van Gogh to Arman and, inspired by the post-impressionist, he signed his early work by first name only.
Beginning in the 1960s he arranged found objects housed in Plexiglas and installations of collected garbage called Poubelles, or “trash cans.”
In 1961, alongside Yves Klein, Jean Tinguely, and art critic Pierre Restany, among others, Arman founded the Nouveau Réalisme group which approached the concept of reality through art much like the American Neo-Dada and Pop artists.
His famous accumulations were collections of found objects. He described his approach as, “I maintain that the expression of junk and objects has an intrinsic value, and I see no need to look for aesthetic forms in them and to adapt them to the colors of the palette.”
Andy Warhol owned two of Arman's Poubelles and invited the artist to participate in his 1964 film Dinner at Daley's.
I specialize very much in…everything.
Born in 1928 in Nice, France, Armand Pierre Fernandez was one of the most prolific and innovative artists working in the French Pop Art movement. Arman began his formal training at the Ecole Nationale des Arts Décoratif in Nice in 1946, but then moved to Paris study at the Ecole du Louvre. In 1947, he forged a friendship with fellow artist Yves Klein, and the two soon began to create art that responded to the post-war condition. Arman’s art dealt with the Duchampian notion of the ready-made, as he employed commodity objects to question the ideas of exuberant mass-production. In 1960, he joined Klein to found the French artistic group Nouveau Réalisme, which sought to find “new ways of looking at the real.”
In 1961, Arman moved to New York, where he took up residence in the infamous Chelsea Hotel. Arman felt that in coming to New York, he was “in the center of [his] dreams, vitrines of vitrines, a profusion of windowed crystals on the rock of Manhattan.” He became friends with fellow Pop Artist Andy Warhol, who began to collect Arman’s work and in 1964, Arman was featured in Warhol’s film Dinner at Daley's. Arman was granted American citizenship in 1972. In 1982, he constructed his formative sculpture Long Term Parking, which consisted of an obelisk-like pile of cars encased in concrete. In 1991, the Brooklyn Museum of Art in New York honored Arman with the first U.S. retrospective of his works. Arman died in 2005, but he left behind a legacy of art that played with the conventions of consumer commodities. His works are housed in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Centre Pompidou in Paris, and the Tate Museum in London, among many others.
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As a witness of my society, I have always been very much involved in the cycle of production, consumption, and destruction.