Mambila Figure (Cameroun), 1997 signed 'Arman' (lower right) ink and gouache on paper 38 x 24in. (96.5 x 60.9cm)
This work is recorded in the Arman Studio Archives New York under number APA# 8026.97.068N.
PROVENANCE: Estate of Irwin Smiley, New York (acquired directly from the Arman Studio).
Bonhams is delighted to present a selection of works by the late great French artist Arman from various American collections. Including works on paper, paintings and sculpturesthe works on offer represent a survey of the artist's works from the 1980s through to the end of his career. From the smaller work on paper to large scale sculptures, each category of his works are represented.
Arman (born Armand Pierre Fernandez in 1928) was the son of an antiques dealer, amateur artist, photographer and cellist. Growing up in Nice, France with his multitalented father, Arman learned classical oil painting and photography techniques. Early on he became fascinated by and well known for his accumulation works where he begin combining multiple objects togethereither encased in vitrines and resin or by welding them together. In this early period in his career, Arman cited Kurt Schwitters as a major influence due do his creation of assemblage technique. In 1960, Arman helped to found the Noveau réalisme group with artists Yves Klein, Raymond Hains, Martial Raysse, Daniel Spoerri and others. The group defined themselves as bearing in common their new perspective approaches of realityspecifically examining art and objects in the new consumer driven society.
Shortly after, Arman moved to New York City in 1961 and immersed himself in the art scene and pulled boundless subject matter from the flourishing economy and society. In New York, he expanded upon his previous work and began utilizing musical instruments as integral parts of his assemblages, accumulations and decoupés. Simultaneously, Arman realized that utilizing elements of everyday life in his works, such as the saw blades in Tranches de vie, 1994 or the bicycles in Ton Sur Ton, 1988 and Untitled, 1991 added to the social commentary that he and the other Nouveau realist artists were focused on. These works, in addition to his pieces focusing on violins and cellos (which were very close to his heart) along with other art historical influences have become his most sought after pieces today.