objet trouvé

ob·​jet trou·​vé | \ ˈȯb-ˌzhā-trü-ˈvā How to pronounce objet trouvé (audio) \
plural objets trouvés\ ˈȯb-​ˌzhā-​trü-​ˈvā How to pronounce objet trouvé (audio) \

Definition of objet trouvé

: a natural or discarded object found by chance and held to have aesthetic value

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Objet trouvé comes from French, where it literally means "found object." The term entered English during the early 20th century, a time when many artists challenged traditional ideas about the nature of true art. Surrealists and other artists, for instance, held that any object could be a work of art if a person recognized its aesthetic merit. "Objet trouvé" can refer to naturally formed objects whose beauty is the result of natural forces as well as to man-made artifacts (such as bathtubs, wrecked cars, or scrap metal) that were not originally created as art but are displayed as such.

First Known Use of objet trouvé

1936, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for objet trouvé

borrowed from French, literally, "found object"

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The first known use of objet trouvé was in 1936

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objet d'art

objet trouvé


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Cite this Entry

“Objet trouvé.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/objet%20trouv%C3%A9. Accessed 25 Oct. 2021.

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