Niki de Saint Phalle
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Niki de Saint Phalle (Neuilly sur Seine, 1930 - San Diego 2002) started out
as a fashionmodel. During a severe breakdown in 1953, she started painting as
a therapy. Meeting the artist Jean Tinguely in 1955 meant a great change in
both her private and artistic life. After moving in with Tinguely in 1960, he
introduced her to the influential museum director Pontus Hulten, who admitted
her work to several major exhibitions. In 1961 the exhibition 'Bewogen beweging'
at the Amsterdam Stedelijk Museum together with 'The art of assemblage' at the
New York MoMa and a solo exhibition at the already famous Leo Castelli Gallery
made her final breakthrough. Together with her husband Jean Tinguely she produced
various sculptures, including the famous fountain at the Centre Georges Pompidou
in Paris. Her most ambitious project is the sculpture garden in Tuscany, the
Tarot Garden, where she created a series of 22 monumental sculptures over the
period 1979 to 1996.
Niki de Saint Phalle died may 22, 2002 at the age of 71 from pneumonia.
A colourful Nana, the motherfigure with the voluptuous body, is the first
one thinks of when hearing the name Niki de Saint Phalle. Nana has become a
symbol for her oeuvre and it also is close to being an icon of contemporary
art. Nana's exist in all shapes and sizes, ranging from minuscule figures that
can be used as a box to a 30 meter high giant that will house a museum in the
near future. One can walk through a Nana, there are Nanas whose breast are fountains
and Nanas who stand on their head. The first Nanas were conceived in 1964, when
Niki saw the portrait that the American painter Larry Rivers made of his pregnant
wife Clarice. Over the years, Nana evolved from a portrait of Clarice into a
symbol of women in general. In spite of that, the Nanas are only part of Niki's
oeuvre. The mythical of Biblical figures, the Tarot Garden but also the strange
chairs and couches are just as much 'Niki' as the Nanas.
The strange, baroque figures and their fantastical decorations have given Niki
de Saint Phalle a special place in Contemporary Art. Few other artists evoke
so much response from the public, but there are also few artists that have the
courage to work on the scale Niki does. Whatever size her pieces have, it is
inevitable to feel their charm for anyone who sees the sculptures.
Also visit her official website: www.nikidesaintphalle.com
For any questions regarding authenticity or certification please contact:
Niki Charitable Art Foundation
"Jana Shenefield, Archivist"