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Niki de Saint-Phalle

Niki de Saint-Phalle

Sculptures

Nationality: French/American

Birth Place: Paris (Ville de Paris department, Île-de-France, France)

Biography:
Niki de Saint Phalle was born near Paris on October 29, 1930. She and her family moved to the United States in 1933 after struggling through the Great Depression. She graduated from a Maryland school in 1947, and then spent a few years working as a fashion model, gracing the covers of Life and French Vogue.

Niki de Saint Phalle eloped with author Harry Matthews at age eighteen, and together they had a daughter and a son. It was also during this time that Phalle began painting, experimenting with different media and styles. After divorcing Matthews, Phalle lived with Jean Tinguely, a sculptor. She became a member of the Parisian group who called themselves “Nouveaux Realistes.”

Phalle’s first art exhibition was in Switzerland in 1956, where she displayed her oil paintings. She then took up work in collage, often depicting weapons in her work. In the 1960’s, Phalle presented her “shooting pictures,” paintings that were the result of shooting at polythene bags filled with paints that were covered in white plaster in human form.

Her work then turned to a focus on female’s roles in modern society. Phalle’s most well-known works are “Nanas,” colorful, exuberant, buxom female figures made of wool, yarn, paper-mache and wire scaffolding, and later polyester. In 1966, she collaborated on a large-scale sculpture of a reclining woman called “hon-en katedral” which invited viewers to enter the internal environment by entering between her legs. The piece elicited vast public reactions from across the globe.

Inspired by Antoni Gaudi’s Parc Guell in Barcelona, Phalle began work on The Tarot Garden in Tuscany in 1979. The garden, containing sculptures of the symbols found on Tarot cards, took nearly 20 years to complete. In 1988, Phalle collaborated with Tinguely to design the world-famous “Stravinsky Fountain” in Paris. This whimsical work includes sixteen works of sculpture and moving and spraying water, representing the works of composer Igor Stravinsky.

In 2000, the Japan Art Society presented Phalle with the Praemium Imperiale award for sculpture. The same year, Phalle donated 300 pieces of her art to the Sprengel Museum in Germany. The next year she made another donation of 170 pieces to the MAMAC museum in Nice, France.

Phalle died in 2002 after suffering from emphysema, an unfortunate consequence of inhaling toxic polyester fumes for years while working on her projects. Her success continues posthumously.

 

Niki de Saint-Phalle Original Art Values Sold at Auction

Item Realized
NIKI DE SAINT-PHALLE (French, 1930-2002) Angel of Temperance, 1987 Sculpted resin 27 x 21 x 8 inches (68.6 x 53.3 x 2
NIKI DE SAINT-PHALLE (French, 1930-2002) Angel of Temperance, 1987 Sculpted resin 27 x 21 x 8 inches (68.6 x 53.3 x 2...
Lot 33135
Auction 5004
Thursday, May 8, 2008
$233,025
NIKI DE SAINT-PHALLE (French, 1930-2002) Eleven Maquettes, 1970s Sculpted resin, wire mesh frame Various dimensions...
NIKI DE SAINT-PHALLE (French, 1930-2002) Eleven Maquettes, 1970s Sculpted resin, wire mesh frame Various dimensions, ... (Total: 11 Items)
Lot 33137
Auction 5004
Thursday, May 8, 2008
$23,900.00
Niki de Saint-Phalle (1930-2002) Juggler Vase, 2000 Painted polyester 13-1/4 x 10-3/4 x 8-1/2 inches (33.7 x 27.3 x 2
Niki de Saint-Phalle (1930-2002) Juggler Vase, 2000 Painted polyester 13-1/4 x 10-3/4 x 8-1/2 inches (33.7 x 27.3 x 2...
Lot 77082
Auction 5357
Thursday, May 24, 2018
$18,750.00
Niki de Saint-Phalle (1930-2002) Rêve d'une jeune fille, c. 1970 Lithograph in colors on paper 18-7/8 x 25-1/4 inc...
Niki de Saint-Phalle (1930-2002) Rêve d'une jeune fille, c. 1970 Lithograph in colors on paper 18-7/8 x 25-1/4 inches...
Lot 11046
Auction 191839
Tuesday, September 25, 2018
$875.00
Niki de Saint-Phalle (1930-2002) Nana, 1968 Lithograph in colors on paper 23-1/2 x 15-3/4 inches (59.7 x 40 cm) (shee
Niki de Saint-Phalle (1930-2002) Nana, 1968 Lithograph in colors on paper 23-1/2 x 15-3/4 inches (59.7 x 40 cm) (shee...
Lot 11045
Auction 191839
Tuesday, September 25, 2018
$500.00

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PLEASE NOTE: All prices realized reflect the final hammer price PLUS the buyer's premium in auctions that charge a buyer's premium. Each item has a notation at the top of the listing indicating whether that lot included a buyer's premium. All information listed is intended to be as accurate as possible, but errors are possible. Please use this guide carefully and inform us of any inaccuracies.



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