Nouveau réalisme was a French movement (meaning new realism) which can be seen as a European counterpart to pop art

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  • Arman (Armand Fernandez), 'Condition of Woman I' 1960

    Arman (Armand Fernandez)
    Condition of Woman I 1960
    Mixed media, metal, wood and glass
    object: 1920 x 462 x 320 mm
    Purchased 1982 ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2002

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  • Jacques Mahé de la Villeglé, 'Jazzmen' 1961

    Jacques Mah de la Villegl
    Jazzmen 1961
    Torn posters mounted on canvas
    image: 2170 x 1770 mm support: 2170 x 1770 mm
    Presented by the Friends of the Tate Gallery 2000 Jacques Mah de la Villegl

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  • Christo (Christo Javacheff), 'Wrapped Cans. Part of Inventory' 1959-1960

    Christo (Christo Javacheff)
    Wrapped Cans. Part of Inventory 1959-1960
    Painted metal, canvas and string
    object: 120 x 105 mm
    Purchased 1981 Christo

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Founded in 1960 by the critic Pierre Restany, nouveau réalistes made extensive use of collage and assemblage as well as painting. They incorporated real objects directly into their work, acknowledging a debt to the readymades of Marcel Duchamp. The leading exponents of this aspect were Arman, César, Christo, Jean Tinguely and Daniel Spoerri.

Raymond Hains, Mimmo Rotella, Jacques Mahé de la Villeglé and Wolf Vostell developed the décollage, or torn poster technique, making striking works from accumulated layers of posters they removed from advertising hoardings. Among the painters were Valerio Adami, Alain Jacquet, Martial Raysse (who also made notable installations) and the German, Gerhard Richter, who named his work Capitalist Realism.

One of the most significant artists associated with nouveau réalisme was Yves Klein who died prematurely in 1962. He was enormously inventive in his short career, staging happenings and carrying out early examples of performance art using his own body, and anticipating conceptual art as well as making remarkable paintings.