Born in Quimper, France, in 1926. He lives and works in Paris, in Aquitaine and in Saint-Malo. Jacques de la Villeglé, known as Jacques Villeglé, studies Fine Arts in Rennes (1944-1946) and, later, architecture in Nantes (1947-1949). His first individual exhibition takes place in 1959. In 1960 he becomes one of the co-founders of the Nouveaux Réalistes.
Initially a beach predator with a collection of sculptures made with pieces of the Atlantic Wall (1947), Jacques Villeglé becomes, in 1949, when he has moved to Paris, an urban predator, “harvester” of torn posters. At the beginning of the 50’s he calls himself “affichiste”, he discovers the “sign guerrilla” and has the “newspaper of the street world”. After cutting up and separating the poster pieces he has collected and selected, he glues them on canvas and signs the result. He presents his “decollages” as “glints of the dominant culture” and intends to make out of them popular artwork. One after an other, he makes his ripped monochromes of political propaganda (Giscard/ Mitterrand 1974 or 1981), street advertisements, show posters or newspaper adds covered with graffiti (L’Humanité c’est la vie, 1957; L’anonyme du dripping, 1967). He also borrows material from contemporary artists for the series on Mathieu, Dubuffet and the painter’s posters. In 1997 he begins a new series consecrated to amplified music (Atelier d’Aquitaine). Although he wants to limit his artistic gesture to appropriation, “prove that a new race of non-technical artists could exist”, he admits he is carrying out a research on color: “the poster, expression of the political and financial propaganda; it’s because of the colors that burst from its scraps that it become a flower of contemporary life, an assertion of optimism and joviality”. Villeglé also invents a vocabulary of signs to be able to draw “sociopolitical cryptograms”.