As a witness of my society, I have always been very much involved in the cycle of production, consumption, and destruction.
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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