Niki de Saint Phalle, born Catherine-Marie-Agnès Fal de Saint Phalle (October 29 1930–May 21, 2002) was a French

France , officially the French Republic , is a country whose Metropolitan France is located in Western Europe and that also comprises various Overseas departments and territories of France....

Sculpture is Three-dimensional space artwork created by shaping or combining hard and or plastic material, sound, and or text and or light, commonly Stone sculpture , metal, glass, or wood....
, painter

Painting is the practice of applying paint, pigment, color or other medium to a surface . In art, the term describes both the act and the result, which is called a painting....
, and film maker.

The early years

Niki de Saint Phalle was born in Neuilly-sur-Seine, Hauts-de-Seine near Paris, to Jeanne Jacqueline (née Harper) and André-Marie Fal de Saint Phalle, a banker. After being wiped out financially during the Great Depression, the family moved from France to the United States of America United States in 1933. During her teens, she was a fashion model; at the age of sixteen she made the cover of Life magazine (September 26, 1949), and later the November 1952 cover of the French Vogue magazine. Niki enrolled at the Brearly School in New York City but she was dismissed for painting fig leaves red on the school's statuary. She went on to attend Oldfields School
Oldfields School

Oldfields School, founded in Baltimore County, Maryland in 1867 by Anna Austen McCulloch, is the oldest girls' boarding school in Maryland.A college preparatory school for girls in grades 8 through 12 located in Glencoe, near Sparks, Maryland, Oldfield's School has approximately 185 boarding and day students....
in Glencoe, Maryland
Glencoe, Maryland

Glencoe is an unincorporated area in Baltimore County, Maryland, Maryland, United States.References...
where she graduated in 1947. At eighteen, de Saint Phalle eloped with author Harry Mathews
Harry Mathews

Harry Mathews is an American author of various novels, volumes of poetry and short fiction, and essays.Born in New York City to an upper middle class family, Mathews was educated at private schools there and at the Groton School in Massachusetts before enrolling at Princeton University in 1947....
, whom she had known since the age of twelve, and moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts
Cambridge, Massachusetts

Cambridge is a city in the Greater Boston area of Massachusetts, United States. It was named in honor of the University of Cambridge in England....
. While her husband studied music

Music is an art form whose media is sound organized in time. Common elements of music are pitch , rhythm , dynamics , and the sonic qualities of timbre and texture ....
at Harvard University
Harvard University

Harvard University is a private university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Massachusetts, United States, and a member of the Ivy League. Founded in 1636 by the colonial Massachusetts legislature, Harvard is the Colonial Colleges institution of higher learning in the United States....
, de Saint Phalle began to paint, experimenting with different media and styles. Their first child, Laura
Laura Duke Condominas

Laura Duke Condominas, also known as Laura Duke, born Boston April 1951, is the daughter of French artist and film-maker Niki de Saint-Phalle and American novelist Harry Mathews....
, was born in April 1951.

De Saint Phalle rejected the staid, conservative values of her family, which dictated domestic positions for wives and particular rules of conduct. However, after marrying young and giving birth to two children, she found herself living the same bourgeois lifestyle that she had attempted to reject; the internal conflict led to her to suffer a nervous breakdown. As a form of therapy, she was encouraged to start painting.

While in Paris, de Saint Phalle was introduced to the American painter Hugh Weiss who became both her friend and mentor, encouraging her to continue painting in her self-taught style. She subsequently moved to Deya, Majorca, Spain

Spain or the Kingdom of Spain , is a country located in Southern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula.The Spanish constitution does not establish any official denomination of the country, even though Espa?a , Estado espa?ol and Naci?n espa?ola are used interchangeably....
where her son Philip was born in May 1955. While in Spain, de Saint Phalle read the works of Proust and visited Madrid

Madrid is the Capital and largest city of Spain. It is the Largest cities of the European Union by population within city limits in the European Union after Greater London and Berlin, and its Madrid metropolitan area is the Largest urban areas of the European Union in the European Union after Paris aire urbaine, Greater London Urban Area, a...
and Barcelona

Barcelona is the capital and most populous city of the Autonomous communities of Spain of Catalonia and the second largest city in Spain, with a population of 1,615,908 in 2008, while the population of the Metropolitan Area was 3,161,081....
where she discovered and was deeply affected by the work of Antonio Gaudí. Gaudí's influence opened many previously unimagined possibilities for de Saint Phalle regarding the use of diverse material and objet-trouvés as structural elements in sculpture and architecture. De Saint Phalle was particularly struck by Gaudí's "Park Güell
Park Güell

Parc Guell is a garden complex with Architecture elements situated on the hill of el Carmel in the Gr?cia district of Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain....
" which convinced her to one day create her own garden work that would combine both art

Art is the process or product of deliberately arranging elements in a way that appeals to the senses or emotions. It encompasses a diverse range of human activities, creations, and modes of expression, including music and literature....
and nature

File:Jungle in Punjab.JPGNature, in the broadest sense, is equivalent to the natural world, physical universe, material world or material universe....
. Saint Phalle continued to paint, particularly after her family relocated to Paris in the mid-1950s. Her first art exhibition was held in 1956 in Switzerland

Switzerland is a landlocked Swiss Alps country of roughly 7.7 million people in Western Europe with an area of 41,285 km?. Switzerland is a federal republic consisting of 26 states called Cantons of Switzerland....
where she displayed naïve style
Naïve art

Na?ve art is characterized by a childlike simplicity. It is a gross oversimplification to assume that Na?ve art is created by people with little or no formal art training....
oil paintings. She then moved onto collage

Sorry, no overview for this topic
work that often featured objects of violence, such as guns and knives.

Shooting paintings

In 1961, she became known around the world for her Shooting paintings. A shooting painting consisted of a wooden base board on which containers of paint were laid, then covered with plaster. The painting was then raised and de Saint Phalle would shoot at it with a .22 caliber

The term caliber designates the inside diameter of a tube, the diameter of a solid wire or rod, or a measurement of the length of a gun relative to its diameter....
rifle. The bullets penetrated paint containers which spilled their contents over the painting. This "painting style" was completely new, and she travelled around the world performing shooting sessions in Paris

Paris is the Capital of France and the country's largest city. It is situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the ?le-de-France Regions of France ....
, Sweden

Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic countries on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden has land borders with Norway to the west and Finland to the northeast, and it is connected to Denmark by the ?resund Bridge in the south....
, Malibu, California
Malibu, California

Malibu is an incorporated city in western Los Angeles County, California, United States. As of the 2000 census, the city population is 12,575....
, and the Stedelijk Museum
Stedelijk Museum

The Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam is a museum for modern art in Amsterdam in the Netherlands. It is located at Museumplein, close to the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam and the Van Gogh Museum....
in Amsterdam

Amsterdam is the Capital of the Netherlands and List of cities in the Netherlands with over 100,000 people of the Netherlands, located in the Provinces of the Netherlands of North Holland in the west of the country....
. Saint Phalle had stopped making these shooting pictures in 1963 as in her own words, ‘I had become addicted to shooting, like one becomes addicted to a drug'.

Her first solo exhibition in Paris at Galarie J featured assemblages and a public shooting arena. Soon de Saint Phalle appeared in group shows throughout Europe and the United States. During the 1960s, she became friends with American artists in Paris such as Robert Rauschenberg
Robert Rauschenberg

Robert Rauschenberg was an American artist who came to prominence in the 1950s transition from Abstract Expressionism to Pop Art. Rauschenberg is perhaps most famous for his "Combines" of the 1950s, in which non-traditional materials and objects were employed in innovative combinations....
, Jasper Johns
Jasper Johns

File:Jasper Johns's 'Map', 1961.jpgJasper Johns, Jr. is a contemporary American artist who works primarily in painting and printmaking. He is represented by the Matthew Marks Gallery....
, Larry Rivers
Larry Rivers

Larry Rivers was a Jewish American artist, musician, filmmaker and occasional actor. Rivers resided and maintained studios in New York City, Southampton, New York on and Zihuatanejo, Mexico....
and his wife Clarice, with whom de Saint Phalle collaborated over the years.


Saint Phalle Hannover2
After the "Shooting paintings" came a period when she explored the various roles of woman. She made life size dolls of women, such as brides and mothers giving birth. They were usually dressed in white. They were primarily made of polyester with a wire framework. They were generally created from papier mâché.

Inspired by the pregnancy of her friend Clarice Rivers, the wife of American artist Larry Rivers
Larry Rivers

Larry Rivers was a Jewish American artist, musician, filmmaker and occasional actor. Rivers resided and maintained studios in New York City, Southampton, New York on and Zihuatanejo, Mexico....
, she began to use her artwork to consider archetypal female figures in relation to her thinking on the position of women in society. Her artistic expression of the proverbial everywoman were named 'Nanas'. The first of these freely posed forms, made of papier-mâché, yarn, and cloth were exhibited at the Alexander Iolas
Alexander Iolas

Alexander Iolas was born in Alexandria, Egypt, on March 25, 1907, to Andreas and Persephone Coutsoudis, who were Greek. In 1924, he went to Berlin as a pianist, and later became a ballet dancer who toured extensively with the Theodora Roosevelt Company and later with the company formed by the Marquis de Cuevas....
Gallery in Paris in September 1965. For this show, Iolas published her first artist books that includes her handwritten words in combination with her drawings of 'Bananas'. Encouraged by Iolas, she started a highly productive output of graphic work that accompanied exhibitions that included posters, books and writings.

In 1966, she collaborated with fellow artist Jean Tinguely
Jean Tinguely

File:Tinguely by Wolleh.jpgFile:Basel Tinguely vor Museum.jpgFile:Z?rich - Seefeld - Heureka IMG_1605.JPGJean Tinguely was a Swiss Painting and sculpture....
and Per Olof Ultvedt on a large scale sculpture installation, "hon-en katedral" ("she-a cathedral") . for Moderna Museet, Stockholm

is the capital and largest city of Sweden. It is the site of the national Swedish Government of Sweden, the Parliament of Sweden, and the official residence of the Swedish Monarchy of Sweden....
, Sweden. The outer form of "hon" is a giant, reclining 'Nana', whose internal environment is entered from between her legs. The piece elicited immense public reaction in magazines and newspapers throughout the world. The interactive quality of the "hon" combined with a continued fascination with fantastic types of architecture intensifies her resolve to see her own architectural dreams realized. During the construction of the "hon-en katedral," she met Swiss

Switzerland is a landlocked Swiss Alps country of roughly 7.7 million people in Western Europe with an area of 41,285 km?. Switzerland is a federal republic consisting of 26 states called Cantons of Switzerland....
artist Rico Weber, who became an important assistant and collaborator for both de Saint Phalle and Jean Tinguely. During the 1960s, she also designed decors and costumes for two theatrical productions: a ballet by Roland Petit
Roland Petit

File:RolandPetit09.jpgRoland Petit is a France choreographer and dancer born in Villemomble near Paris, France. He trained at the Paris Op?ra ballet school, and became well known for his creative ballets, which include:...
, and an adaptation of the Aristophanes

Aristophanes , son of Philippus, of the deme Cydathenaus, was a prolific and much acclaimed comedy playwright of ancient Athens. Eleven of his forty plays have come down to us virtually complete....
play "Lysistrata

Lysistrata is one of the few surviving plays written by the master of Aristophanes#Aristophanes and Old Comedy, Aristophanes. Originally performed in Classical Athens in 411 BC, it is a comic account of one woman's extraordinary mission to end The Peloponnesian War....

The Tarot Garden

Influenced by Gaudí´s Parc Güell in Barcelona, and the garden in Bomarzo

Bomarzo is a town and comune of the province of Viterbo , in the lower valley of the Tiber river. It is located at some 18 kilometers from Viterbo and 68 from Rome....
, de Saint Phalle decided that she wanted to make something similar; a monumental sculpture park created by a woman. In 1979, she acquired some land in Garavicchio, Tuscany

Tuscany is a region in Italy. It has an area of and a population of about 3.6 million inhabitants. The regional capital is Florence.Tuscany is known for its landscapes and its artistic legacy....
, about 100 km north-west of Rome

Rome is the capital city of Italy and Lazio, and is Italy's largest and most populous city, with 2,724,347 residents in an urban area of some ....
along the coast. The garden, called Giardino dei Tarocchi in Italian, contains sculptures of the symbols found on Tarot

The tarot is typically a set of seventy-eight cards, composed of twenty-one Trump , one The Fool , and four Suit of fourteen cards each?ten pip and four Face card cards ....
cards. The garden took many years, and a considerable sum of money, to complete. It opened in 1998, after more than 20 years of work.(*)

Public works

Fontaine Stravinsky Saint Phalle
On 17 November 2000 Niki became an honorary citizen of Hannover, Germany

Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a country in Central Europe. It is bordered to the north by the North Sea, Denmark, and the Baltic Sea; to the east by Poland and the Czech Republic; to the south by Austria and Switzerland; and to the west by France, Luxembourg, Belgium, and the Netherlands....
and donated 300 pieces of her artwork to the Sprengel Museum
Sprengel Museum

The Sprengel Museum in Hanover houses one of the most significant collections of modern art in Germany. It is located in a building designed by Peter Trint and Ursula Trint and Dieter Quast adjacent to the Maschsee....

Many of Niki de Saint Phalle's sculptures are large and some of them are exhibited in public places, including:
  • Stravinsky
    Igor Stravinsky

    Igor Fyodorovich Stravinsky was a Russian-born composer, considered by many to be the most influential composer of 20th century music. He was a quintessentially Cosmopolitanism Russian who was named by Time as one of the 100 most influential people of the century....
    Fountain (or Fontaine des automates) near the Centre Pompidou, Paris

    Paris is the Capital of France and the country's largest city. It is situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the ?le-de-France Regions of France ....
    (1982) - also featuring works of Jean Tinguely
  • La fountaine Château-Chinon, at Château-Chinon

    'Ch?teau-Chinon' is the name of two commune in France of the Ni?vre d?partement in France, in France:* Ch?teau-Chinon * Ch?teau-Chinon The two towns are neighboring each other....
    , Nièvre

    Ni?vre is a departments of France in the center of France named after the Ni?vre ....
    . Collaboration with Jean Tinguely
  • L'Ange Protecteur in the Hall of the Zürich Train Station
  • Nanas, along the Leibnizufer in Hannover (1974).
  • Queen Califia's Magic Circle, a sculpture garden in Kit Carson Park, Escondido, California(*)
  • Sun God
    Sun God (statue)

    Sun God is a statue by French sculptor Niki de Saint Phalle located on the campus of the University of California, San Diego. The statue is a 14-foot multicolored bird-like creature, perched atop a 15-foot-tall horseshoe-shaped rock pedestal....
    (1983), a fanciful winged creature next to the Faculty Club on the campus of the University of California, San Diego
    University of California, San Diego

    The University of California, San Diego is a public research university in San Diego, California, California. The school's campus contains 694 buildings and is located in the La Jolla, San Diego, California community....
    as a part of the Stuart Collection
    Stuart Collection

    The Stuart Collection is a collection of public art on the campus of the University of California, San Diego. Founded in 1983, the Stuart Collection's goal is to spread commissioned sculpture throughout the campus, including both traditional sculptures and integration with features of the campus, including landscape and buildings....
    of public art.
  • La Lune, A sculpture located inside the Brea Mall
    Brea Mall

    The Brea Mall is a shopping mall located in the northern Orange County, California city of Brea, California, California. Brea is within minutes of California State University, Fullerton....
    in Brea, California
    Brea, California

    Brea is a city in Orange County, California, California, United States. The population, as of 2007 is 39,560.The city began as a center of crude oil production, was later propelled by citrus production, and is now an important retail center because of the large Brea Mall and the recently redeveloped Brea Downtown....
  • Coming Together, San Diego convention center(*)
  • Grotto at the Royal Herrenhäuser Gardens in Hannover, Germany (*)
  • Cyclop in Milly-La-Forêt, France - collaborative monumental sculpture with Jean Tinguely, a.o.(*)
  • Golem in Jerusalem(*)
  • Noah's Ark collaborative sculpture park with Swiss architect Mario Botta
    Mario Botta

    Mario Botta is a famous modern architect born in Mendrisio, Ticino canton, Switzerland.He designed his first house at age 16, although no-one mentions if it was built, and studied at the Liceo Artistico in Milan and the University Iuav of Venice in Venice....
    in Jerusalem(*)
  • Lebensretter-Brunnen / Lifesaver Fountain in Duisburg, Germany

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