César (César Baldaccini) Pouce 1965 - 1968 © SBJ. ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2023


Born 1921
Died 1998
Nationality French
Birth place Marseille
Death place Paris

César was born in Marseille, where he studied art before going on to study in Paris from 1943 to 1948. His early work used soldered and welded metal as well as junk materials, and by 1960 César was considered one of France's leading sculptors. In that year he astonished his followers by showing three crushed cars at a Paris exhibition. It was for these 'Compressions' that César became renowned. Like Arman and Jean Tinguely, César was part of the French New Realism movement which found its inspiration in urban life.

Glossary terms

Glossary terms

New Realism

Art of the 1960s that incorporates found objects, often to pass comment on society. The movement is particularly associated with France, where it is known as Nouveau Réalisme. Exponents included Yves Klein and Jean Tinguely.


A term lifted from the French word for ‘unstick’, it is most commonly applied to artworks where an original image is cut, torn, or removed from its original content. The phrase generally refers to the work of French Nouveau Réalists, (New Realists) who ripped old posters from walls and mounted them onto canvas.