Arman's father, Antonio Fernandez, an antiques dealer from Nice, was also an amateur artist, photographer, and cellist. From his father, Arman learned oil painting and photography. After receiving his bachelor's degree in philosophy and mathematics in 1946, Arman began studying at the École Nationale des Arts Décoratifs in Nice. He also started judo at a police school in Nice where he met Yves Klein and Claude Pascal. The trio bonded closely on a subsequent hitch-hiking tour around Europe.
Completing his studies in 1949, Arman enrolled as a student at the École du Louvre in Paris, where he concentrated on the study of archaeology and oriental art. In 1951, he became a teacher at the Bushido Kai Judo Club in Madrid. During this time he also served in the French military, completing his tour of duty as a medical orderly during the Indo-China War.
Early on, it was apparent that Arman's concept of the accumulation of vast quantities of the same objects was to remain a significant component of his art. Ironically, he had originally focused more attention on his abstract paintings, considering them to be of more consequence than his early accumulations of stamps. Only when he witnessed viewer reaction to his first accumulation in 1959 did he fully recognize the power of such art. In 1962, he began welding together accumulations of the same kinds of metal objects, such as axes (as pictured below).Inspired by an exhibition for the German Dadaist Kurt Schwitters in 1954, Arman began working on "Cachets," his first major artistic undertaking. At his third solo exhibition held in Paris's Galerie Iris Clert in 1958, Arman showed some of his first 2D accumulations he called "cachets." These stamps on paper and fabric proved a success and provided an important change of course for the young artist's career.
In October 1960, Arman, Yves Klein, François Dufrêne, Raymond Hains, Martial Raysse, Daniel Spoerri, Jean Tinguely and Jacques Villeglé, and art critic and philosopher Pierre Restany founded the Nouveau réalisme group. Joined later by Cesar, Mimmo Rotella, Niki de Saint Phalle, and Christo, the group of young artists defined themselves as bearing in common their "new perspective approaches of reality." They were reassessing the concept of art and the artist for a 20th-century consumer society by reasserting the humanistic ideals in the face of industrial expansion.
In 1961, Arman made his debut in the United States, the country which was to become his second home. During this period, he explored creation via destruction. The "Coupes" and the "Colères" featured sliced, burned, or smashed objects arranged on canvas, often using objects with a strong "identity" such as musical instruments (mainly violins and saxophones) or bronze statues. Wikipedia