Abstract, unconventional, philosophical... The art of accumulation and assemblage

Arman (1928 – 2005) was a French-born American artist, best known for his conceptual sculpture style. He took inspiration from Dadaism, claiming that objects consigned to being ‘junk’ had intrinsic value. This ‘allure of the object’ or allures d’objet' meant that one could use such objects to create ink and paint traces which formed paintings. Accomplished in oil painting and photography and learned in philosophy and mathematics, Arman developed a conceptual style of art, initially focused on the accumulation of vast quantities of similar objects. He turned his attentions to abstract paintings after the powerful reaction from the public towards his artistic form and ideology and created his recognisable work Accumulations (1959). This series of Accumulations and the destruction and reforming of objects became the pinnacle of his work. Notably, in the 1960s, he was associated with Nouveau Réalisme, a European movement founded in response to American Pop art along with close friend and fellow artist Yves Klein and was additionally with Andy Warhol.


As demonstrated in this painting coming up in a summer auction (left) Arman’s necessity of emotional detachment from the circumstance associated with broken things meant that one was forced to appreciate the abstract beauty of the object. Something which is not typically regarded as beautiful could be, depending on how the viewer is forced to look at it. This concept was a breakthrough for not just Arman’s own work, but for modern art henceforth to the present day. His philosophical approach to artwork gained him global momentum and he has since been regarded as one of the most inventive creators of the late 20th century.


Arman exhibited extensively throughout his lifetime, receiving numerous awards and reaching six figure prices at auction. His work can be found at the MET, Tate Galleries, Centre Pompidou as well as the Musée D’Art Contemporain in Tehran, Iran; the Museum of Art in Tel Aviv, Israel; the Musée Des Arts Decoratifs and Opéra De Paris in France; the La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art in California; and the Museum of Arts and Design and the Guggenheim in New York.


Please scroll below for an assortment of Arman's works.

Abstract, unconventional, philosophical... The art of accumulation and assemblage

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