Born "Armand Fernandez" in Nice, France in 1928, Arman got his first painting lessons from his father, an antique dealer. In 1946, he began studies at the Ecole Nationale d'Art Decoratif in Nice and, one year later, he embarked on a hitch-hiking tour of Europe with Yves Klein and Claude Pascal. In 1949, he completed his studies in Nice and went on to Ecole du Louvre, where his main interests were archaeology and oriental art.
In 1956, Arman had his first solo exhibitions in London and Paris and, one year later, he traveled to Turkey, Persia and Afghanistan. He was a founding member of the Nouveaux Realistes in 1960. Retrospectives of his work have traveled to Paris, Lausanne, Krefeld, Venice and Brussels. Arman gained United States citizenship in 1972, in addition to his French nationality.