12/04/2009

Catherine-Marie-Agnès Fal de Saint Phalle

Encyclopedia
Niki de Saint Phalle, born Catherine-Marie-Agnès Fal de Saint Phalle (29 October 1930–21 May 2002) was a French
France
France , officially the French Republic , is a country located in Western Europe, with several overseas islands and territories located on other continents. Metropolitan France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean...

sculptor
Sculpture
Sculpture is three-dimensional artwork created by shaping or combining hard and/or plastic material, sound, and/or text and or light, commonly stone , metal, glass, or wood. Some sculptures are created directly by finding or carving; others are assembled, built together and fired, welded, molded,...

, painter
Painting
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. Paintings may have for their support such surfaces as walls, paper, canvas, wood, glass, lacquer, clay or concrete...

, 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 in 1933. Niki enrolled at the prestigious Brearley School
Brearley School
The Brearley School is an all-girl private school in New York City, New York, United States. It is located on the Upper East Side of the Manhattan borough of New York City. The school is divided into the Lower School , Middle School and Upper School...

in New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States, and the center of the New York metropolitan area, which is among the most populous urban areas in the world. A leading global city, New York exerts a powerful influence over worldwide commerce, finance, culture, fashion and entertainment...

, 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...

in Glencoe, Maryland
Glencoe, Maryland
Glencoe is an unincorporated community in Baltimore County, Maryland, United States.-References:...

where she graduated in 1947. During her teenaged years, she was a fashion model; at the age of sixteen, she appeared on the cover of Life magazine (September 26, 1949), and, three years later, on the November 1952 cover of French Vogue
Vogue Paris
The French edition of Vogue magazine, Vogue Paris, is a fashion magazine that has been published since 1920.-1920–1950:The French edition of Vogue was first issued on June 15, 1920. More information about French Vogue in the 1920s is available in Mary E. Davis's book Classic Chic: Music, Fashion,...

.

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.-Life: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. While her husband studied music
Music
Music is an art form whose medium is sound. 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 located in Cambridge, Massachusetts and a member of the Ivy League. Founded in 1636 by the colonial Massachusetts legislature, Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and currently comprises ten separate academic units...

, 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. As an actress she is most notable for her portrayal of Guinevere in Robert Bresson's film Lancelot du lac of 1974.She...

, 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 caused her to suffer a nervous breakdown. As a form of therapy, she was urged to pursue her painting.

While in Paris on a modeling assignment, de Saint Phalle was introduced to the American painter, Hugh Weiss, who became both her friend and mentor. He encouraged her to continue painting in her self-taught style.

She subsequently moved to Deià
Deià
Deià is a small coastal village on the northern ridge of the Spanish island of Majorca. It is located about ten miles north of Valldemossa, and it is known for its literary and musical residents...

, Majorca, Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain , is a country located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula.The Spanish constitution does not establish any official denomination of the country, even though España , Estado español and Nación española 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
Madrid is the capital and largest city of Spain. It is the third-most populous municipality in the European Union after Greater London and Berlin, and its metropolitan area is the third-most populous city by urban area in the European Union after Paris and London.The city is located on the river...

and Barcelona
Barcelona
Barcelona is the capital, most populous city of the Autonomous Community of Catalonia and the second largest city in Spain, with a population of 1,615,908 in 2008. It is the 11th-most populous municipality in the European Union and sixth-most populous urban area in the European Union after Paris,...

, where she became deeply affected by the work of Antonio Gaudí. Gaudí's influence opened many previously unimagined possibilities for de Saint Phalle, especially with regard to the use of unusual materials and objets-trouvés as structural elements in sculpture and architecture. De Saint Phalle was particularly struck by Gaudí's "Park Güell
Park Güell
Park Güell is a garden complex with architectural elements situated on the hill of el Carmel in the Gràcia district of Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. It was designed by the Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí and built in the years 1900 to 1914...

" which persuaded her to create one day her own garden-based artwork that would combine both art
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, literature, film, sculpture, and paintings...

istic and natural
Nature
Nature, in the broadest sense, is equivalent to the natural world, physical world, or material world. "Nature" refers to the phenomena of the physical world, and also to life in general...

elements.

Saint Phalle continued to paint, particularly after she and her family moved to Paris in the mid-1950s. Her first art exhibition was held in 1956 in Switzerland
Switzerland
Switzerland , officially the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 states named cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities...

, where she displayed her naïve style
Naïve art
Naïve art is a classification of art that is often characterized by a childlike simplicity in its subject matter and technique. While many naïve artists appear, from their works, to have little or no formal art training, this is often not true....

of oil painting. She then took up collage
Collage
A collage is a work of formal art, primarily in the visual arts, made from an assemblage of different forms, thus creating a new whole....

work that often featured images of the instruments 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 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
Paris is the capital of France and the country's most populous city. It is situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

, Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe...

, Malibu, California, 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 Museum Square, close to the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum....

in Amsterdam
Amsterdam
Amsterdam is the capital and largest city of the Netherlands, located in the province 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
Jasper Johns, Jr. is an American contemporary artist who works primarily in painting and printmaking. He is represented by the Matthew Marks Gallery.-Life:...

, and 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.-Biography:...

and his wife Clarice, with whom de Saint Phalle collaborated over the years.

Nanas


After the "Shooting paintings" came a period when she explored the various roles of women. 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.-Biography:...

, 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...

Gallery in Paris in September 1965. For this show, Iolas published her first artist book 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
Jean Tinguely was a Swiss painter and sculptor. He is best known for his sculptural machines or kinetic art, in the Dada tradition; known officially as metamechanics...

and Per Olof Ultvedt on a large-scale sculpture installation, "hon-en katedral" ("she-a cathedral") . for Moderna Museet, Stockholm
Stockholm
' is the capital and largest city of Sweden. It is the site of the national Swedish government, the Riksdag , and the official residence of the Swedish Monarch as well as the prime minister. The Monarch resides at Drottningholm Palace outside of Stockholm since 1980 and uses the Royal Palace of...

, 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
Switzerland , officially the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 states named cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities...

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
Roland Petit is a French choreographer and dancer born in Villemomble near Paris, France. He trained at the Paris Opéra Ballet school, and became well known for his creative ballets, which include:...

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

play "Lysistrata
Lysistrata
Lysistrata is one of the few surviving plays written by the master of 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...

."

In 1971, de Saint Phalle and Tinguely married.

The Tarot Garden


Influenced by Gaudí´s Parc Güell in Barcelona, and the garden in Bomarzo
Bomarzo
Bomarzo is a town and comune of the province of Viterbo , in the lower valley of the Tiber. It is located 14.5 km ENE of Viterbo and 68 km NNW of Rome.-History:...

, 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
Tuscany is a region in North-Central 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
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated municipality , with over 2.7 million residents in , while the population of the urban area is estimated by Eurostat to be 3.46 million. The metropolitan area of Rome is estimated by OECD to have a population of 3.7 million...

along the coast. The garden, called Giardino dei Tarocchi
Giardino dei Tarocchi
Il Giardino dei Tarocchi or The Garden of Tarot is a sculpture garden based on the esoteric tarot created by Niki de Saint Phalle in Tuscany Italy during the late 1970's....

in Italian, contains sculptures of the symbols found on Tarot
Tarot
The tarot , , is a pack of cards , used from the mid fifteenth century in various parts of Europe to play card games such as Italian Tarocchini and French Tarot. The tarot has four suits corresponding to the suits of conventional playing 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.http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Giardino_dei_Tarocchi

Public works




On 17 November 2000 Niki became an honorary citizen of Hannover, Germany
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 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 and Ursula Trint and Dieter Quast adjacent to the Maschsee. The museum opened in 1979 and was extended in 1992.Dr...

.

Many of Niki de Saint Phalle's sculptures are large and some of them are exhibited in public places, including:
  • Stravinsky Fountain
    Stravinsky Fountain
    The Stravinsky Fountain is a whimsical public fountain ornamented with sixteen works of sculpture,moving and spraying water, representing the works of composer Igor Stravinsky...

    (or Fontaine des automates) near the Centre Pompidou, Paris
    Paris
    Paris is the capital of France and the country's most populous city. It is situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

    (1982)—also featuring works of Jean Tinguely
  • La fountaine Château-Chinon, at Château-Chinon
    Château-Chinon
    Château-Chinon is the name of two communes of the Nièvre département, in France:* Château-Chinon * Château-Chinon The two towns are neighboring each other. They were separated during the French Revolution....

    , Nièvre
    Nièvre
    Nièvre is a department in the center of France named after the Nièvre River.-History:Nièvre is one of the original 83 departments created during the French Revolution on March 4, 1790...

    . 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 http://www.queencalifia.org
  • 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 located in La Jolla, San Diego, California, United States...

    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...

    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 city of Brea, California. Brea is within minutes of California State University, Fullerton. It is owned and operated by the Simon Property Group, and is home to four major department stores, over 175 specialty shops and...

    in Brea, California
    Brea, California
    Brea is a city in Orange County, California, United States. The population, as of the 2000 census, was 35,410, making it Orange County's 25th most populous city of 34....

    .
  • Coming Together, San Diego convention centerhttp://www.portofsandiego.org/sandiego_publicart/nikidestphalleccart.asp
  • Grotto at the Royal Herrenhäuser Gardens in Hannover, Germany http://www.hannover.de/herrenhausen/gaerten/gro_garten/elemente/grotte_deutsch/index.html
  • Cyclop in Milly-La-Forêt, France—collaborative monumental sculpture with Jean Tinguely, a.o. http://www.art-public.com/cyclop/cyclop_g.htm
  • Golem in Jerusalemhttp://jerusalemfoundation.org/city.php?id=135
  • Noah's Ark collaborative sculpture park with Swiss architect Mario Botta
    Mario Botta
    Mario Botta is a Swiss architect.He studied at the Liceo Artistico in Milan and the IUAV in Venice. His ideas were influenced by Le Corbusier, Carlo Scarpa, Louis Kahn. He opened his own practice in 1970 in Lugano....

    in Jerusalemhttp://jerusalemfoundation.org/updates.php?id=166
  • Lebensretter-Brunnen / Lifesaver Fountain in Duisburg, Germany

Literature

  • Niki de Saint Phalle, Pontus Hultén
    Pontus Hultén
    Karl Gunnar Vougt Pontus Hultén was a Swedish art collector and museum director. Pontus Hultén is regarded as one of the most distinguished museum professionals of the twentieth century...

    , ISBN 3-7757-0582-1. Published in connection with an exhibition in Bonn
    Bonn
    Bonn is the 19th largest city in Germany. Located in the Cologne/Bonn Region, about 20 kilometres south of Cologne on the river Rhine in the Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia, it was the capital of West Germany from 1949 to 1990 and the official seat of government of united Germany from 1990...

  • Traces: An Autobiography Remembering 1930 – 1949, Niki de Saint Phalle, ISBN 2-940033-43-9
  • Harry & Me. The Family Years, Niki de Saint Phalle, ISBN 371651442X
  • Niki de Saint Phalle: Catalogue Raisonné: 1949 – 2000, Janica Parente a.o., ISBN 2-940033-48-X
  • Niki De Saint Phalle: Monographie/Monograph, Michel de Grece a.o., ISBN 2-940033-63-3
  • Niki's World: Niki De Saint Phalle , Ulrich Krempel, ISBN 3-7913-3068-3
  • Niki de Saint Phalle. My art, my dreams, Carla Schultz-Hoffmann (Editor), ISBN 3-7913-2876-X
  • AIDS: You can’t catch it holding hands, Niki de Saint Phalle, ISBN 0-932499-52-X
  • Niki de Saint Phalle: Insider-Outsider. World Inspired Art, Niki de Saint Phalle, Martha Longenecker (Editor), ISBN 0-914155-10-5
  • Niki De Saint Phalle: The Tarot Garden, Anna Mazzanti, ISBN 88-8158-167-1
  • Niki de Saint Phalle: La Grotte, ISBN 3-7757-1276-3
  • Jo Applin, "Alberto Burri and Niki de Saint Phalle: Relief Sculpture and Violence in the Sixties', Source: Notes in the History of Art, Winter 2008

Film

  • Daddy, 1973, written and directed by de Saint Phalle and Peter Lorrimer Whitehead.
  • Un rêve plus long que la nuit, 1971, written and directed by de Saint Phalle.
  • Who is the monster - You or me?, 1995, by Peter Schamoni in collaboration with de Saint Phalle.

See also

  • Herrenhausen Gardens
    Herrenhausen Gardens
    The Herrenhausen Gardens , located in Lower Saxony's capital of Hanover are made up of the Great Garden , the Berggarten, the Georgengarten and the Welfengarten. The gardens are a heritage of the Kings of Hanover.The Great Garden has always been one of the most distinguished baroque formal gardens...

  • Kiryat Yovel
    Kiryat Yovel
    Kiryat HaYovel is a neighborhood in south-western Jerusalem, built in the early 1950s to house new immigrants. Today, Kiryat Hayovel has a population of 25,000 residents....

  • New Realism
    New realism
    Nouveau Réalisme refers to an artistic movement founded in 1960 by the art critic Pierre Restany and the painter Yves Klein during the first collective exposition in the Apollinaire gallery in Milan...

  • 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...

  • Sun God (statue)
    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....


External links


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