Jacques Villeglé was born in Quimper, France, in 1926. In 1947, he began in Saint-Malo to collect found objects: steel wire, bits of debris, etc. from France’s World War II Atlantic Wall. In 1949, he narrowed the focus of his appropriations to torn posters. In 1954, together with his intellectual partner, Raymond Hains, Villeglé made the acquaintance of the Lettriste poet François Dufrêne who introduced them to Yves Klein, Pierre Restany and Jean Tinguely, with whom, after appearing together at the first Biennale de Paris, they formed the Nouveaux Réalistes group in Milan in 1960.
Before that, in 1958, Villeglé, wrote a text on his torn posters, Des Réalités collectives, which prefigured Nouveau Réalisme. Since then he has been considered as the historian of the lacéré anonyme (anonymous tear), a term he coined in 1959.
Since 1957, Villeglé’s work has been shown in over 150 solo exhibitions in Europe and America as well as numerous group shows all over the world. His works, which can be found in the collections of major European and American museums, are the subject of many publications, including seven of nineteen volumes on his thematic and exhaustive catalogue of his torn posters.
In 2007, his work featured in the Nouveau Réalisme exhibition at the Grand Palais, Paris, and at the Sprengel Museum, Hanover, as well as in Airs de Paris at the Centre Georges Pompidou, where he is scheduled to have a retrospective exhibition later this year.