A found object is a natural or man-made item that an artist discovers or acquires and keeps due to its inherent artistic value.
Found objects, called ‘objet trouvé’ in French, can be displayed as art pieces themselves or serve as inspiration for artists. For instance, sculptor Henry Moore collected bones and flints, treating them as both natural sculptures and sources of creative ideas. Artists may modify found objects and present them as art, either in their original state or as part of an artistic arrangement.
Picasso was one of the pioneers in this practice, incorporating newspapers and items like matchboxes into his cubist collages and constructing cubist works from various scavenged materials starting in 1912.
Many artists, including dadaists, surrealists, and pop artists, as well as later creators like Carl Andre, Tony Cragg, Bill Woodrow, Damien Hirst, Sarah Lucas, and Michael Landy, have extensively used found objects in their art.