Aesthetics Wiki

Figuration Narrative, also called Narrative Figuration in English, was an art movement that originated in France during the 1960s, principally based in Paris[1].

It surged as a reaction against the prevalence of Abstract Art, as well as other popular contemporary art movements like Nouveau Réalisme and Pop Art. The artists of the Figuration Narrative movement sought to create a type of art that incorporated influence from New Figuration and contradicted Abstraction by managing to tell a story through their artworks; hence why it was named "narrative figuration" by the French art critic Gérald Gassiot-Talabot in 1962.

Outside France, Figuration Narrative also holded popularity among Spanish artists during the 1970s, as means to combat censorship through art.


Cultural Context[]

Figuration Narrative was developed through the vision of various Parisian artists during the decades of the 1960s and 1970s, which were very complex periods of recent history, including the Cold War, and some events in which France was directly involved, like the war in Algeria and Vietnam. These artists rightfully felt like society was too stressed with the tense political climate of the time, and consumerism kept growing bigger, including fields like cinematography, cinema, art, comics, bandes desinnées, and even art movements like Pop Art or Nouveau Réalisme. Much like New Realists, they developed their own movement that incorporated elements of real life and everyday situations, but unlike them, they rejected consumerism, making "art for the sake of art" and making any artwork that could be deemed philosophically "meaningless". Figuration Narrative is often described as the "antithesis of Pop Art"[2].


Some visuals prominent in Figuration Narrative include:

  • Situations of everyday life
  • Realistic and recognizable figures and shapes
  • Anonymous persons
  • Streets and urban scenery
  • Strong symbolism
  • Elements meant to narrate a history through visuals
  • A sense of social commentary
  • Figurative art style
  • A rich and bright colour palette



  • Atila Biro
  • Christian Babou
  • Eduardo Arroyo
  • Equipo Crónica
  • Erro
  • Georg Baselitz
  • Gilles Aillaud
  • Gérard Fromanger
  • Henri Cueco
  • Herman Braun-Vega
  • James-Jacques Brown
  • John Christoforou
  • Leonardo Cremonini
  • Simone Dat
  • Valerio Adami
  • Élisabeth Chabin
  • Guy Peellaert