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Nouveau Réalisme (also known as New Realism) is an art movement that originated in France during the early 1960s. It was characterized by its representation of everyday objects of everyday life at the time, and the representation of contemporary life through an Realistic point of view and Figurative Art. As such, some objects commonly featured in New Realist artworks include 60s advertising, rubbish imagery and objects, and piles of trash, given new artistic meanings. This movement was also influenced by the other popular Avant-garde movements of the time, such as Abstract Expressionism, Dadaism or Pop Art, but didn't ideologically fully agree and instead focused on the representation of the physical world. Some have described this art movement as the "French counterpart of American Pop Art". The art critic Pierre Restany described the art movement as «a poetic recycling the urban, industrial and advertising of the everyday world».


The roots of the movement can be traced back to the Lettrism art movement during thew 1940s, also of French origin.
Pierre Restany published the First manifesto of the New Realism in April, 1960.
The Nouveau Réalisme movement was officially founded in the October of 1960 by a group of French artists, whose members were Yves Klein, Arman, Francois Dufrêne, Raymond Hains, Pierre Restany, Daniel Spoerri, Jean Tinguely and Jacques Villeglé, and multiple other artists who later joined the movement. In the year 1961, the artists César, Mimmo Rotella, Niki de Saint Phalle and Gérard Deschamps joined the movement. The artist Christo joined the group in 1963.
The group's aim was to create an sociological aesthetic that depicted everyday life in an unidealized way. Therefore, their works usually incorporated everyday objects and materials, such as household items, clothing, and found objects, which were depicted realistically and in a unromanticized manner.
Because of this, the term "Noveau Réalisme" (New Realism) became subject of criticism within the group, because there was technically nothing "new" (nouveau) about it, and some artists preferred the term "Réalisme d'Aujourd'hui (Today's Realism).
The New Realist artists saw life "as an image", and therefore they wanted to take fundamental parts of life and incorporate them into their artworks, with the purpose to "unite life and art".
The first New Realism exposition took place in November (1960) in the Avant-garde festival of Paris. Additionally, some of their works were anonymously publicized in Paris.
The movement started to lose revelance in the 1970s.


The Nouveau Réalisme movement used a wide variety of styles and techniques, since the point of the movement was to break with traditional art styles and explore new forms to depict and represent everyday life, such as rejecting Romanticism. Since the movement emphasized on representing life realistically, one of the key characteristics of this movement was the use of everyday objects and materials. New Realist artists would often incorporate household objects, advertisements from the 1960s, trash, discarded items, and textures on their works, as it would go against society's common perception of what beauty and art is and isn't.
A popular technique used in New Realist art was Assemblage, which consists on creating new artworks by mixing different objects and materials into one. This would give the artworks an unconventional and chaotic aura, since it clashed with the common definition of beauty.
Along with this, another important aspect of Nouveau Réalisme was the incorporation of unconventional materials and tactics, such as the use of plastics, industrial materials and even fire.



  • Jacques Villegle
  • Yves Klein
  • Arman Francois Dufrêne
  • Raymond Hains
  • Pierre Restany
  • Daniel Spoerri
  • Jean Tinguely
  • Jacques Villeglé
  • Pierre Restany
  • César Baldiccini
  • Mimmo Rotella
  • Niki de Saint Phalle
  • Gérard Deschamps
  • Christo Vladimirov Javacheff
  • Lucian Freud
  • Alex Katz
  • Alfred Leslie
  • Alice Neel


Painting & Collage[]