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Nouveaux Réalistes

Artists' association

1960 in Paris
Nouveau Réalisme


In 1960 the art critic Pierre Restany founded the Nouveaux Réalistes in Paris. They distanced themselves from the abstraction of Art Informel and sought to borrow the concepts of the ready-made or Dada. The artists’ group, whose founding members included Daniel Spoerri, Arman, Yves Klein, Jean Tinguely, François Dufrêne, Raymond Hains, Martial Raysse and Jacques Villeglé, rejected an art which had disengaged itself entirely from the visible world and reality. Instead their works aimed to refer in diverse ways to the physical world and the reality of industrialised society. Three manifestos formulated this claim, and artists like Niki de Saint-Phalle and César also joined the movement. The artists of Nouveau Réalisme integrated aspects and materials of the consumer world and everyday culture – torn-off strips of posters, waste materials, commonplace items of daily use – into their works. In this way they reacted to the emerging consumer culture and its consequences. In line with Restany’s aims, reality itself was seen as the designer. The members of the group wanted to redefine the relationship between art and life and to come as close as possible to social reality with their works. A preferred technique of the group, especially of artists like Arman and Spoerri, was the assembly of everyday objects and refuse. The works of Nouveau Réalisme differ widely in their forms of expression and extend from the monochrome pictures of Yves Klein to Jean Tinguely’s complex art machines made of junk and old engines.

Persons belonging to Nouveaux Réalistes