Niki de Saint Phalle was a self-taught French-American artist. Expressing herself through various media, Niki de Saint Phalle was a visual artist, painter, sculptor, film director and author. Bilingual in French and English, she formed an essential link between French and American artists in Paris. Niki de Saint Phalle became part of the Nouveau Réalisme movement.
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Niki de Saint Phalle (born Catherine Marie-Agnès Fal de Saint Phalle) was born in Neuilly-sur-Seine on October 29th, 1930 to an American mother (Jeanne-Jacqueline Harper) and a French father (André Marie Fal de Saint-Phalle). Niki de Saint Phalle grew up in New York, travelling regularly to France to visit her family. She became a model, her photographs appearing in Vogue and Life magazines. Niki de Saint Phalle married her childhood friend Harry Mathews at the age of 18 years old.
Niki de Saint Phalle painted her first works in 1950, while her husband was studying music at Harvard. The couple’s first child, Laura, was born in 1951. The following year, the family moved to Paris, where Niki de Saint Phalle studied theatre. The family spent the summer in the South of France, Spain and Italy, where Niki de Saint Phalle visited museums and cathedrals.
In 1953, Niki de Saint Phalle was hospitalised for depression. Painting helped her to overcome her illness and she decided to become an artist. In her own words: “I started painting in the madhouse, where I learnt how to translate emotions, fear, violence, hope and joy into painting. It was through creation that I discovered the sombre depths of depression, and how to overcome it.” A self-taught artist, in this respect Niki de Saint Phalle was similar to outsider artists. She would indeed become very close to Jean Dubuffet, the theorist behind the Art Brut movement. In Paris, Niki de Saint Phalle was encouraged to pursue her chosen path by the artists she met. The family then moved to Mallorca, where Niki and Harry had their second child in 1955: Phillip.
Saint Phalle’s family later returned to Paris, where she met the artist Jean Tinguely, with whom she began to work. Niki de Saint Phalle was also deeply affected by the works of Paul Klee, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso and Henri Rousseau. She visited the Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris, where she discovered works by Jasper Johns, Willem de Kooning, Jackson Pollock and Robert Rauschenberg.
Niki and Harry separated in 1960. The artist then moved into her studio alone. A number of Niki de Saint Phalle’s works were included in a group exhibition at the Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris. Niki de Saint Phalle and Jean Tinguely moved in together, sharing the same studio.
In the early 1960s, Niki de Saint Phalle created her Tirs (Shooting Paintings) works: they consisted of structures composed of containers filled with paint, on to which the artist would shoot with a rifle to create projections on the canvas. As such, the Tirs pieces combined pictorial art and performance art. Niki de Saint Phalle was close to a number of notable American artists living in Paris, including Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, Larry Rivers, Shirley Goldfarb and James Metcalf, whom she invited to participate in the series.
She also collaborated with the French artists Gérard Deschamps and Raymond Hains in creating her Tirs pieces.
Niki de Saint Phalle became part of the Nouveau Réalisme (New Realism) movement, a group of artists that brought together Arman, Christo, Yves Klein, Jean Tinguely and Jacques de la Villeglé, among others. Perfectly bilingual, she became a privileged link between French and American artists living in Paris.
Niki de Saint Phalle’s first solo exhibition was held at the Galerie J in Paris in 1961. In that year, Niki de Saint Phalle’s Tirs were made famous by the Office de Radiodiffusion-Télévision Française (ORTF) En français dans le texte programme. The journalist Catherine Gonnard observed that Niki de Saint Phalle was “a leading figure of the avant-garde on television.” Thanks to her prior experience as a model, she was at ease in front of the cameras. The art critic and founder of the Nouveau Réalisme movement, Pierre Restany, “used his exceptional understanding of imagery to promote the new avant-garde (…) in particular at the screening of a documentary entitled Un certain art… which presented James Metcalf, Jean Tinguely and Niki de Saint Phalle.” It was as such that a Tir work was enacted in front of the cameras of the American news agency United Press International.
Through Marcel Duchamp, Niki de Saint Phalle and Jean Tinguely met the surrealist artist Salvador Dalí—with whom they travelled to Spain.
In the same year, Niki de Saint Phalle took part in the exhibition The Art of Assemblage at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. In February 1962, Niki de Saint Phalle and Jean Tinguely travelled to California, Nevada and Mexico, where the two artists took part in various exhibitions and cultural events. On their return to France, the couple settled in the Paris region, where Niki de Saint Phalle began creating figurative sculptures of women (some giving birth, others representing brides), as well as dragons and monsters.
Niki de Saint Phalle created her first Nana in 1965, inspired by the pregnancy of the actress Clarice Rivers—wife of the artist Larry Rivers. Entitled Gwendoline (Musée Tinguely, Basel), the sculpture represented an archetypal female form. Niki de Saint Phalle further developed the theme, her Nanas evolving into giant round women in dancing positions.
The first exhibition of Niki de Saint Phalle’s Nanas was held at the Galerie Iolas in Paris in September 1966. The artist published her first book for the occasion.
In the same year, the Nanas were incorporated into a ballet by Roland Petit entitled Éloge de la folie. Presented at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris, the ballet was a triumph. It featured Nana figures on rods held up by dancers, as well as set designs by Niki de Saint Phalle, Jean Tinguely and Martial Raysse.
In the following year, Niki de Saint Phalle created a gigantic Nana for the Moderna Museet in Stockholm. Measuring 28 m long, 9 m wide and 6 m high, this reclining Nana was entitled Hon (“She” in Swedish). Visitors could enter the sculpture of the woman through an entrance between her legs. With its powerful symbolism, the piece attracted considerable attention. Niki de Saint Phalle’s first monumental work, the piece reinforced her desire to create a sculpture garden.
In 1971, Niki de Saint Phalle received her first architectural commission—for a house in the South of France—after which she travelled to India and Egypt. Niki de Saint Phalle and Jean Tinguely were married in the same year.
In 1972, Niki de Saint Phalle received a second private architectural commission for a project in Belgium. She worked on the project with the Haligon workshop—a partnership that would continue with collaborations on large-scale sculpture projects as well as work in editions.
In 1999, Niki de Saint Phalle began work on the design of the Grotto in the royal Herrenhausen Gardens in Hanover. Consisting of three rooms, the Grotto was decorated with mosaics made of white and gold mirrors, blue and black pieces of glass, multicoloured stones, and red, yellow and orange glassware. All of the mosaics were adorned with figures on the theme of The Life of Man.
Niki de Saint Phalle’s passion for monumental sculptures illustrated her desire to go beyond the confines of the museum to create works of art accessible to all.
Niki de Saint Phalle worked together with Jean Tinguely on Le Paradis Fantastique—a commission for the French Pavilion at the 1967 Universal and International Exhibition in Montreal, Canada. The piece was made up of nine monumental sculptures by Niki de Saint Phalle, six kinetic sculptures and six machines by Jean Tinguely. In the installation, the works of the two artists are staged to confront each other, “in competition”. During the production of the sculptures, Niki de Saint Phalle was exposed to toxic gases from the heated polystyrene. The damage this caused to her lungs resulted in recurring health problems for the artist. Directly inspired by the piece Hon, Le Paradis Fantastique was transferred to the Moderna Museet in Stockholm in 1971.
In 1973, Niki de Saint Phalle was commissioned to create a monumental sculpture for Rabinovitch Park in Jerusalem. It was called Golem. Designed for children, the work was a fantastical monster with tongues that served as playground slides.
In 1974, Niki de Saint Phalle created three monumental Nanas for the city of Hanover in Germany. The inhabitants of the city nicknamed them Sophie, Charlotte and Caroline in homage to three historical figures of the city.
In 1982, Niki de Saint Phalle and Jean Tinguely worked together on a fountain project for the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris. The work was called the Fontaine Stravinsky in a tribute to the Russian composer. Jean Tinguely died in Bern in 1991. To commemorate his life, Niki de Saint Phalle created her first kinetic sculptures: the Meta-Tinguelys.
The artist Niki de Saint Phalle worked with the architect Mario Botta on her Noah’s Ark project in Jerusalem—a park in which animal sculptures serve as children’s playground games. The park was opened in 2000.
Niki de Saint Phalle’s last monumental sculpture project was Queen Califia’s Magical Circle: a sculpture park located in Escondido, California. Named after Califia, an Amazon warrior who is an important figure in California culture, the park features a labyrinth and ten large-scale sculptures. The symbolism used by Niki de Saint Phalle in the pieces was inspired by Native American culture. Work began on the park in 2000 and it was inaugurated in 2003.
Suffering from a pulmonary disease, Niki de Saint Phalle was hospitalised in Switzerland in 1974, where she was reunited with her collector friend Marella Caracciolo Agnelli. Niki de Saint Phalle shared her desire to build a sculpture garden with her friend, whose family subsequently gave her a plot of land in Garavicchio in Tuscany to realise the project.
Niki de Saint Phalle devoted herself to the creation of her Tarot Garden for nearly twenty years. The foundations were laid in 1978 and the construction of the first sculptures began in 1980. Niki de Saint Phalle joined forces with the architect Mario Botta for the project. The construction of the garden was financed by sales of editions.
The collection of works in the park was based on the twenty-two Major Arcana in the game of tarot. Completed in 1993, it was opened to the public in 1998. Constructed using metal frames covered with concrete, the sculptures were decorated with polychrome ceramics, mirror mosaics and glass. Measuring fifteen metres high, the largest pieces became real sculpture houses.
Niki de Saint Phalle’s inspiration for the Tarot Garden came in part from the architect Antoni Gaudí and his creations, such as the Parc Güell in Barcelona. She was also inspired by the Sacro Bosco, or Park of the Monsters, in Bomarzo and the Palais idéal du Facteur Cheval (the “Ideal Palace” of the French postman Ferdinand Cheval), which was built in Hauterives in the Drôme region of France. In a letter to Jean Tinguely, Niki de Saint Phalle wrote: “I was telling you about Gaudí and the postman Cheval, whom I had just discovered and who had become my heroes: they represented the beauty of man, alone in his madness, without any intermediaries, museums or galleries. I provoked you by telling you that the postman Cheval was a much greater sculptor than you. ‘I’ve never heard of the fool,’ you said, insisting ‘Let’s go and see him at once.’ So we did, and the discovery of this marginal creative force gave you tremendous satisfaction. You were seduced by the poetry and fanaticism of this simple postman, who had realised his immense and crazy dream.”
The artist Niki de Saint Phalle gave her support to many causes. One remarkable way she did so was by creating lithographs to support the Temporary Contemporary Museum in Los Angeles in 1983. The profits from the sales of the works were donated to research in the fight against AIDS. This particular cause was very close to Niki de Saint Phalle’s heart. She was involved with AIDS prevention and education work throughout her life.
In 1987, in collaboration with Dr Silvio Barandun, Niki de Saint Phalle wrote and illustrated the book AIDS: You Can’t Catch It Holding Hands, which was published in seven different languages.
Also committed to defending the rights of African Americans, Niki de Saint Phalle created a series of sculptures entitled Black Heroes, representing athletes and musicians such as Miles Davis and Louis Armstrong.
The self-taught artist Niki de Saint Phalle expressed herself through a diverse range of media. In 1972, for example, Niki de Saint Phalle created her first designs for the jeweller GEM Montebello in Milan. She also made two films: Daddy in 1974 and then Un rêve plus long que la nuit in 1975. In 1980, Saint Phalle began creating her first chairs, vases and lamps.
In 1982, Niki de Saint Phalle created an eponymous perfume, the bottle of which was decorated with two intertwined snakes. Marketed by the Jaqueline Cochran Company, the perfume was used to finance part of the Tarot Garden project.
As part of a worldwide touring kite exhibition in 1988, Niki de Saint Phalle created a gigantic kite with a design she had developed in the mid-1970s: Oiseau amoureux.
In 2000, Niki de Saint Phalle was awarded the Praemium Imperiale prize in Japan—a prize awarded since 1989 by the Imperial Family of Japan on behalf of the Japan Art Association. Awarded annually for outstanding contributions to the development, promotion and progress of the arts, the prize is considered the equivalent of the Nobel Prize in this field. In 2001, the artist Niki de Saint Phalle donated 190 works to the city of Nice.
Niki de Saint Phalle died on May 21st, 2002 in La Jolla, California. The Niki Charitable Art Foundation is now responsible for the promotion and protection of Niki de Saint Phalle’s works.
The Grotto in the royal Herrenhausen Gardens in Hanover was inaugurated in March 2003, in conjunction with an exhibition of the works Niki de Saint Phalle had donated to the Sprengel Museum in Hanover, which had made her an honorary citizen.
© Diane de Polignac Gallery
Translation: Lucy Johnston
Niki de Saint Phalle with his rifle after shooting the canvas • Credits: Gerhard Rauch – Maxppp
Aalborg (Denmark), Kunsten Museum of Modern Art
Amherst, MA, Mead Art Museum at Amherst College
Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum
Angers, Musée des Beaux-Arts
Antibes, Musée Picasso
Athens, Basil & Elise Goulandris Foundation
Baden-Baden, Museum Frieder Burda
Basel, Museum Tinguely
Bern, The Museum of Drawers
Bern, Tiefenau Spital
Bratislava, Danubiana Meulensteen Art Museum
Champaign, IL, Krannert Art Museum, University of Illinois
Charlotte, NC, Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
Chicago, IL, Museum of Contemporary Art
Chicago, IL, Robert B. Mayer Memorial Loan Collection
Chur (Switzerland), Würth International AG
Cologne, Ludwig Collection at the Wallraf-Richartz Museum
Darmstadt, Hessisches Landesmuseum
Dublin, Hugh Lane Municipal Gallery of Modern Art
Duisburg, Wilhelm Lehmbruck Museum
Dunkirk, Lieu d’Art et Action Contemporaine (LAAC)
Düren, Museumsverein Leopold-Hoesch-Museum
Evanston, IL, Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University
Flassans-sur-Issole (France), Commanderie de Peyrassol
Fribourg, Espace Jean Tinguely – Niki de Saint Phalle
Fribourg, Musée d’Art et d’Histoire
Geneva, Fondation Gandur pour l’Art
Geneva, Musée d’Art et d’Histoire de la Ville de Genève
Glasgow, Gallery of Modern Art
Glasgow, McLellan Galleries
Gyeongju (South Korea), Wooyang Museum of Contemporary Art
Hakone (Japan), The Hakone Open-Air Museum
Hanover, Sprengel Museum
Helsinki, Didrichsen Art Museum
Houston, TX, The Menil Collection
Houston, TX, The Museum of Fine Arts
Humlebaek (Denmark), Louisiana Museum of Modern Art
Jerusalem, Jerusalem Foundation
Jerusalem, Israel Museum
Kirishima (Japan), Kirishima Open-Air Museum
Koblenz, Ludwig Museum at the Deutschherrenhaus
Kruishoutem (Belgium), Fondation Veranneman
La Jolla, CA, Museum of Contemporary Art
Lausanne, Olympic Museum
Linz (Austria), Lentos Kunstmuseum
London, Tate Gallery
Los Angeles, CA, Frederick R. Weisman Foundation
Mannheim, Städtische Kunsthalle
Marseille, Musée Cantini
Marseille, Musée d’Art Contemporain
Martigny, Fondation Pierre Gianadda
Milly-La-Forêt (France), Association Le Cyclop
Minneapolis, MN, Walker Art Center
Mönchengladbach, Städtisches Museum Abteiberg
Naoshima (Japan), Naoshima Contemporary Art Museum, Benesse Art Site
New Haven, CT, Yale University Art Gallery
New Haven, CT, Yale University, The Center For Jewish Life
New Orleans, LA, New Orleans Museum of Art
New Orleans, LA, Virlane Foundation
Buffalo, NY, Albright-Knox Art Gallery
New York, NY, Brooklyn Museum
New York, NY, Metropolitan Museum of Art (Met)
New York, NY, Whitney Museum of American Art
Nice, Musée d’Art Moderne et d’Art Contemporain (MAMAC)
Nîmes, Carré d’Art – Musée d’Art Contemporain
Osaka, National Museum of Art Osaka
Oslo, Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art
Paris, Fondation Claude Pompidou
Paris, Fonds National d’Art Contemporain
Paris, Musée National d’Art Moderne – Centre Pompidou
Paris, Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris
Paris, Musée des Arts Décoratifs
Perth, Art Gallery of Western Australia
Philadelphia, PA, Philadelphia Museum of Art
Philadelphia, PA, University of Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh, PA, Aluminium Company of America
Potsdam, Museum Fluxus+
Princeton, NJ, The Art Museum, Princeton University
Quebec, Musée d’Art de Joliette
Rotterdam, Museum Boymans Van Beuningen
San Diego, CA, Mingei International Museum
San Diego, CA, San Diego Museum of Art
São Paulo, Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo
Zaragoza (Spain), Fundacion Aragonesa Pilar Citoler
Seoul, National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art
Sintra (Portugal), Berardo Collection
St. Gallen (Switzerland), Kunstmuseum
Saint Louis, MO, City Garden, Gateway Foundation
Saint Louis, MO, Laumeier Sculpture Park
Stockholm, Moderna Museet
Taichung (Taiwan), Asia Museum of Modern Art
Thessaloniki (Greece), Macedonian Center of Contemporary Art
Tokyo, Setagaya Art Museum
Tokyo, Benesse Corporation, Tama City
Toulon, Musée d’Art
Turku (Finland), Aboa Vetus & Ars Nova Museum
Ulm (Germany), Medical Center, University of Ulm
Ulm (Germany), Ulmer Museum
Vienna, Museum Moderner Kunst
Washington, D.C., National Museum of Women in the Arts
Washington, D.C., Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
Washington, D.C., National Gallery of Art (previously the Corcoran Gallery)
Watari-um (Japan), Watari Museum of Fine Arts
Wattens (Austria), Swarovski Kristallwelten
Wattwiller, Fondation François Schneider
Selected works in publics spaces
Le Paradis Fantastique, 1967, Moderna Museet, Stockholm, 1967
Le Cyclope, Milly-la-Forêt (France), 1969-1994
Golem (Mifletzet), Collection of the City of Jerusalem, Kiryat Hayovel, Rabinovitch Park, Jerusalem, 1972
Hannover Nanas (Sophie, Charlotte, Caroline), Hanover, Leibnitz-Ufer (Germany), 1973
Le Poète et sa muse, Universität Ulm, Ulm (Germany), 1978
Le Jardin des Tarots (Tarot Garden), 1978 – 1998, Pescia Fiorentina, Capalbio, Provincia de Grossetto (Italy), 1978 – 1998
La Sirène, Commanderie de Peyrassol, Flassans-sur-Issole (France), 1983
Sun God, Stuart Collection, University of California, La Jolla (CA), 1983
La Fontaine Stravinsky, Collection de la Ville de Paris, Paris, 1983
Adam & Eve, Universität Ulm, Ulm (Germany), 1985
La Fontaine de Château-Chinon, Collection de la ville de Château-Chinon (France), 1988
Arbre Serpents [Serpent Tree], Waterfront Park, San Diego (CA), 1988
Le Monde, Kulturforum Collection, Würth (Switzerland), 1989
Chat de Ricardo, Cimetière du Montparnasse, Paris, 1989
Le Grand Oiseau amoureux, Tinguely Museum Collection, Basel, 1989
Oiseau amoureux, Jigyo Central Park, Fukuoka City (Japan), 1990
Fontaine aux Nanas, Asklepios Klinik Harburg, Hamburg, 1991
Grand Oiseau de Feu sur l’Arche (The Firebird), Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, Charlotte (NC), 1991
Arbre serpents [Serpent Tree], Benesse Corporation Collection, Tama City, Tokyo, 1992
Le Monstre du Loch Ness, Collection of the Musée d’Art Contemporain, Nice, 1992
La Tempérance, Luxembourg, 1992
Arbre serpents Fontaine, Collection of the Musée des beaux-arts, Angers, 1992
Oiseau Amoureux Fontaine (the “Lifesaver” Fountain), City of Duisburg Collection, Duisburg (Germany), 1993
Les Trois Grâces Fontaine, Kolon Industries, Inc. Collection, City of Gwacheon, South Korea, 1995
Nana Dansante (in blue), Sculpture Park at the Carmen Würth Forum, Künzelsau (Germany), 1995
Noah’s Ark Sculpture Park, the Jerusalem Foundation Collection; Tisch Family Zoological Gardens – The Biblical Zoo, Manahat, Jerusalem, 1995–2000
Black Nana, Kulturforum Collection, Würth (Switzerland), 1995–2004
Relief, Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow, 1996
L’Ange Protecteur [Guardian Angel], Zurich Train Station, 1997
Nana on a dolphin, Hafentheater, Landungsbrücken St. Pauli, Hamburg, 1998
Bear, Forum Würth Collection, Rorschach (Switzerland), 1998
Dragon, Kulturforum Collection, Würth (Switzerland) 1998
Oiseau pour Jean-Jacques, Cimetière du Montparnasse, Paris, 1998
Le Poète et sa muse, Collection of the Mingei International Museum, San Diego (CA), 1998
Miles Davis, Hôtel Negresco, Nice, 1999
Ricardo Cat, Laumeier Sculpture Park Collection, St. Louis (MO), 1999
# 19 Baseball Player, 1999, Waterfront Park, San Diego (CA), 1999
Large Seal, 1999, Waterfront Park, San Diego (CA), 1999
Nana Mosaïque Noire, Tarot Garden Foundation Collection, Italy, c. 1999
Grotto, Herrenhausen Gardens, Hanover 1999–2003
Big Nana Blue, Hafentheater, Landungsbrücken St. Pauli, Hamburg, 2000
Large Bull Totem, Forum Würth Collection, Rorschach (Switzerland), 2000
Buddha, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield (Yorkshire), 2000
Pizza Oven, Restaurant Barbarella, La Jolla (CA), 2000
Nikigator, Forum Würth Collection, Rorschach (Switzerland), 2001
Grande Step Totem, California Center for the Arts, Escondido (CA), 2001
Coming Together, San Diego Convention Center, San Diego (CA), 2001
Nikigator, Collection of the Mingei International Museum, San Diego (CA), 2001
Queen Califia’s Magical Circle, Iris Sankey Arboretum, Escondido (CA), 2003
Niki Mathews New York Gemälde, Gouachen, Galerie Restaurant Gotthard, St. Gallen (Switzerland), 1956
Salon Comparaisons : Peinture Sculpture, Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris, 1961, 1962
Feu à Volonté, Galerie J., Paris, 1961
Niki de Saint Phalle, Køpcke Gallery, Copenhagen, 1961
Action de tir, Everett Ellin Gallery, Los Angeles, 1962
Séance de Tirs, Malibu Hills, Malibu, 1962
Niki de Saint Phalle, Galerie Rive Droite, Paris, 1962
Niki de Saint Phalle, Alexander Iolas Gallery, New York, 1962, 1965, 1966, 1967
The Dwan Gallery, Los Angeles, 1963, 1964
Galerie Alexandre Iolas, Geneva, 1964, 1969
Niki de Saint Phalle, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Galerie Aujourd’hui, Brussels, 1964
Galerie Alexandre Iolas, Paris, 1965, 1968, 1972, 1974
Niki de Saint Phalle : Les Nanas au pouvoir, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, 1967
Gimpel & Hanover Galerie, Zurich, 1968, 1971
Niki de Saint Phalle, Hanover Gallery, London, 1968, 1969
Niki de Saint Phalle: Werke 1962-1968, Kunstverein für die Rheinlande Westfalen, Düsseldorf, 1968
Niki de Saint Phalle, Kunstmuseum, Lucerne (Switzerland), 1969
Galerie Seriaal, Amsterdam, 1969, 1971
Les Nanas, Pavillon Baltard, Les Halles, Paris, 1970
Niki de Saint Phalle : Nana Power, La Hune, Paris, 1970
Niki de Saint Phalle : Serigraphien und kleine Skulpturen, Kammerkunsthalle, Bern, 1971
Niki de Saint Phalle : Nana Power polykroma skulpturer, Svensk-Franska Konstgallerier, Stockholm, 1971
Galerie Bonnier, Geneva, 1972, 1976, 1981, 1987, 1993, 1998
Gimpel Fils, London, 1972, 1982, 1985, 1988, 1991, 2000
Niki de Saint Phalle, Festival d’Arles, Monastère de Saint-Trophime, Arles, 1975
Gimpel & Weitzenhoffer Gallery, New York, 1975, 1977, 1979, 1982, 1985, 1990
Beelden, modellen en maquettes van Niki de Saint Phalle, Museum Boymans-van Beuningen, Rotterdam, 1976
Niki de Saint Phalles sculpturer, Kunsten Museum of Modern Art, Aalborg (Denmark), 1976
Niki de Saint Phalle, Watari Gallery, Tokyo, 1979, 1982
Niki de Saint Phalle: Objekte-Grafiken, Bawag Foundation, Vienna, 1980
Ulm Museum, Ulm (Germany), 1980, 1999
L’exposition rétrospective de Niki de Saint Phalle, Musée National d’Art Moderne – Centre Pompidou, Paris, 1980
Niki de Saint Phalle : Retrospektive 1954-1960, Nuremberg Kunsthalle, Nuremberg, 1980
Niki de Saint Phalle : Retrospektive 1954-1960, Haus am Waldsee, Berlin, 1980
Niki de Saint Phalle : Retrospektive 1954-1960, Hanover Kunstmuseum, Hanover, 1980
L’exposition rétrospective de Niki de Saint Phalle, Moderna Museet, Stockholm, 1980
Niki de Saint Phalle (opening exhibition), Space Niki, Tokyo, 1980
Niki de Saint Phalle, Knokke Casino, Knokke-le-Zoute (Belgium), 1985, 1993
Niki de Saint Phalle: Veistoksja ja reliefejä / Sculptures and reliefs, Kaj Forsblom Gallery, Helsinki, 1986
Niki de Saint Phalle: Bilder – Figuren – Phantastische Gärten, Kunsthalle der Hypo-Kulturstiftung, Munich, 1987
Fantastic Vision: Works by Niki de Saint Phalle, Nassau County Museum of Art, Roslyn, New York, 1987
Niki de Saint Phalle: Lutte contre le sida, Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, 1990
Niki de Saint Phalle au Château d’Arsac, Château d’Arsac, Margaux (France), 1991
Niki de Saint Phalle : SIDA…Aids, Reinhausen Gallery at the Wilhelm Lehmbruck Museum, Duisburg, 1992
Niki de Saint Phalle, Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle, Bonn, 1992
Niki de Saint Phalle : L’invitation au musée, Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris, 1992
Niki de Saint Phalle : Aventure Suisse, Musée de l’Art et de l’Histoire, Fribourg (Switzerland), 1993
Les Footballers, Olympic Museum, Lausanne, 1993
Niki de Saint Phalle, Dimensions Gallery, Taipei, 1994
Niki de Saint Phalle (opening exhibition), Niki Museum, Nasu (Japan), 1994
Niki de Saint Phalle, Museo Rufino Tamayo, Mexico City, 1995. Touring exhibition:
Museo de Arte Contemproràneo de Caracas Sofia Imber, Caracas;
Museo de Arte Moderno, Bogotá; Fundação Casa França-Brasil, Rio de Janeiro; Pinacoteca do Estado, São Paulo; Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Buenos Aires; Sala de Exposiciones Edificio CTC, Santiago de Chile
Niki de Saint Phalle : Graphik und Skulpturen, Kunstkabinett, Regensburg (Germany), 1996
Niki de Saint Phalle + Jean Tinguely, Kunst Raum, Bayreuth (Germany), 1997
Niki de Saint Phalle : Dear Diary, Kunstverein, Wolfsburg (Germany), 1997
Espace Jean Tinguely – Niki de Saint Phalle, Fribourg (Switzerland), 1999, 2006, 2011, 2015, 2018
Baseball Player & Basketball Player, San Diego Hall of Champions, Balboa Park, San Diego, 1999
Louis Armstrong and Miles Davis, East County Cultural Zone, El Cajon (CA), 2000
La Fête. Die Schenkung Niki de Saint Phalle. Werke aus den Jahren 1952-200, Sprengel Museum, Hanover, 2000. Touring exhibition: Museum Tinguely, Basel
Niki de Saint Phalle : Les dieux de la musique et du sport, Écuries Saint-Hugues de Cluny, Cluny (France), 2001
Niki de Saint Phalle : La vie joyeuse des objets, Musée de la Publicité, Union des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, 2001
Niki de Saint Phalle : La donation, Musée d’Art Moderne et d’Art Contemporain (MAMAC), Nice, 2002
Les Niki de Saint Phalle, Musée Mandet, Riom (France), 2002
Niki de Saint Phalle : Siebdrucke und Lithographien 1968 – 2001, Landestrost Castle, Neustadt am Rübengebirge (Germany), 2002
Sprengel Museum, Hanover (Germany), 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2016
Niki de Saint Phalle, Ernst Museum, Budapest, 2003
Niki de Saint Phalle, National Museum, Krakow, 2003
Homage to Niki de Saint Phalle, Caretta Shiodome, Tokyo, 2003
Zoo Exquis: L’arche Fantastique de Niki de Saint Phalle, Église de Pontgivart, Auménancourt (France), 2003
California Center for the Arts, Escondido Museum, Escondido (CA), 2004, 2005, 2018
Niki de Saint Phalle, des assemblages aux œuvres monumentales, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Angers (France), 2004
Niki de Saint Phalle – Early works & prints from the collection of the MAMAC, Nice, Kunsthalle Nürnberg, Nuremberg, 2004
Nana Power: Die Frauen der Niki de Saint Phalle, Schloss Neuhardenberg, Berlin, 2005
Niki de Saint Phalle: Retrospective, Daimaru Museum, Umeda (Japan), 2006. Touring exhibition: Daimaru Museum, Tokyo; Nagoya City Art Museum, Nagoya City; Fukui City Art Museum, Fukui City
Niki in the Garden: The Extraordinary Sculptures of Niki de Saint Phalle, Atlanta Botanical Garden, Atlanta, 2006. Touring exhibition: Garfield Park Conservatory, Chicago; Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis
Niki de Saint Phalle : Vive l’amour ! Palais Bénédictine, Fécamp (France), 2006
Dreams of Midsummer: Works of Niki de Saint Phalle, Macao Museum of Art, Macao, 2006. Touring exhibition: Korean National Museum of Contemporary Arts, Seoul; National Museum of History, Taipei, Taiwan; National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, Taichung, Taiwan
Niki de Saint Phalle, Tate Liverpool, Liverpool, 2008
Hommage à Niki de Saint Phalle. Le Jardin des Tarots, La Coupole, Paris, 2008
Les boîtes à secrets de Niki, Musée en Herbe, Paris, 2008
Niki de Saint Phalle: Joie de Vivre – Alegria de Viver, Fundação Eugénio de Almeida, Évora (Portugal), 2009. Touring exhibition: Palazzo dell’Abbondanza, Massa Marittima (Italy); Castello Aldobrandesco di Arcidosso, Amiata (Italy); Fortezza Orsini, Sorano (Italy); Fundació Julià Reig, Musée du Tabac, Andorra la Vella, Andorra
Niki de Saint Phalle, Schleswig-Holsteinisches Landesmuseum Schloss Gottorf, Gottorf (Germany), 2009
Niki de Saint Phalle: Mythen – Märchen – Träume, Kulturforum Würth, Chur (Switzerland), 2009
Niki de Saint Phalle, Kunsthandlung Osper, Cologne, 2009
Sculpture Project: Niki de Saint Phalle, National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C., 2010
Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, Charlotte, 2011, 2014
Niki de Saint Phalle, Kunsthalle Würth, Schwäbisch-Hall (Germany), 2011. Touring exhibition: Max Ernst Museum, Brühl (Germany)
Niki de Saint Phalle: The Girl, the Monster and the Goddess, Moderna Museet, Malmö (Sweden), 2012. Touring exhibition: Moderna Museet, Stockholm
Niki de Saint Phalle, Le Grand Palais, Paris, 2014. Touring exhibition: Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao
Le Jardin de Tarots Niki de Saint Phalle. Photographic exhibition, Le Palais Idéal du Facteur Cheval, Hauterives (France), 2014
La Cabeza, Le Cent Quatre, Paris, 2014
Niki de Saint Phalle, Museum Jan van der Togt, Amstelveen (Netherlands), 2015
Niki de Saint Phalle, National Art Center, Tokyo, 2015
At Last I Found the Treasure. Niki de Saint Phalle and the theatre, Kunst- und Kulturstiftung Opelvillen, Rüsselsheim (Germany), 2016
Ich bin eine Kämpferin. Frauenbilder der Niki de Saint Phalle, Museum Ostwall, Dortmund (Germany), 2016
Niki de Saint Phalle: Von den Nanas zum Tarotgarten, Herbert Gerisch-Stiftung, Neumünster (Germany), 2017
Niki de Saint Phalle, Museo Ettore Fico, Turin (Italy), 2017
Niki de Saint Phalle: works from the Masuda collection, Hangaram Art Museum, Seoul, 2018
HON: Niki de Saint Phalle & Shen Yuan, Power Station of Art, Shanghai, 2018. Touring exhibition: Today Art Museum, Beijing
Amour, une histoire des Manières d’aimer, Musée du Louvre-Lens, Lens, 2018
Pierre Descargues, Niki de Saint Phalle, Paris, A. Iolas, 1965
Pierre Descargues, Niki de Saint Phalle, les Nanas au pouvoir, Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum, 1967
Pontus Hultén, Jean Tinguely, une magie plus forte que la mort, Paris, Le Chemin Vert, 1987
Jean-Louis Ferrier, Yann Le Pichon, L’Aventure de l’art au xxe siècle, Paris, Éditions du Chêne-Hachette, 1988
Niki de Saint Phalle, la Donation, Nice, Musée d’Art Moderne et d’Art Contemporain (MAMAC), 2002
Itzhak Goldberg, Françoise Monnin, La Sculpture moderne au musée d’art moderne, Paris, Scala-Centre Georges Pompidou, 2007
Marella Caracciolo Chia, Jill Johnston and Giulio Pietromarchi, Niki de Saint-Phalle et le jardin des tarots, Paris, Hazan, 2010
Various, Niki de Saint Phalle, catalogue raisonné, Lausanne, Acatos, 2010
Catherine Francblin, Niki de Saint Phalle, la révolte à l’œuvre, Paris, Hazan, 2013
Various, Grand Palais, Niki de Saint Phalle, Paris, RMN, 2014, catalogue compiled in conjunction with the Grand Palais in Paris and the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao with contributions from the Niki Charitable Art Foundation in Santee (CA)
Élisabeth Reynaud, Niki de Saint Phalle : Il faut faire saigner la peinture ! Paris, Éditions Écriture, 2014
Béatrice Nodé-Langlois, Niki de Saint Phalle au Grand Palais, La Critique parisienne, No. 72, Christmas 2014