César, whose full name was César Baldaccini, was born in Marseille in 1921. After his studies at the Marseille academy from 1935 to 1939 and at the Paris academy from 1943 to 1947, César met Picasso and Germaine Richier in Paris, and lived in the same house as Alberto Giacometti, all of whom influenced his early artwork greatly.
During this time César produced his first sculptures made from iron and gypsum. From 1956 César soldered pieces of scrap together to form figurative and semi-abstract sculptures.
Under the influence of Nouveau Réalisme, he produced the famous "Compressions dirigées" from 1960, for which César compressed car chassis and metal objects in a metal press. Pop-Art also left its marks on the oeuvre of the French sculptor and object artist, namely in his colored plastic objects formed as ironic object fetishes.
César died on June 12, 1998 in Paris.