Martial Raysse (b. 1936)

Le Grand Départ (1972)

Martial Raysse is a prominent French Nouveau Realist artist. Working with found-object assemblages, advertising imagery, and the elevation of kitsch to fine art, Raysse is often viewed as a predecessor of the Pop Art movement. His later works consisted of elaborate paintings fit with working neon lights, often featuring bright colors and Arcadian settings akin to the work of Nicholas Poussin. Born on February 12, 1936 in Golfe-Juan, France to a family of ceramicists, he started writing poetry and painting at an early age. By 1960, Raysse was a founding member of the Nouveau Realism movement, alongside artists such as Yves Klein and Jean Tinguely. The group sought to utilize and transform the industrial scale of consumer society in their own work, and exploit readymade materials for the purposes of conceptual and formal concerns. Today, Raysse’s work is held in the collections of the Tate Gallery in London, The Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, D.C., among others. He lives and works in Issigeac, France.