What art movement was the woman artist Niki de Saint Phalle associated with?

The French-American artist Niki de Saint Phalle was a self-taught painter and a member of the French Nouveau Réalisme movement for a time, before detaching herself from any school or art movement.

Niki de Saint Phalle was hospitalised in 1953 for depression. Helped to overcome her illness by painting, she decided to become an artist. Describing the period, she explained: “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 artists and painters that were part of the Art Brut, or Outsider Art movement. She would indeed become very close to Jean Dubuffet, the theorist behind the Art Brut movement. 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 works combined pictorial art and performance art. Niki de Saint Phalle became part of the Nouveau Réalisme movement, a group of artists that brought together Arman, Christo, Yves Klein, Jean Tinguely and Jacques de la Villeglé, among others.

Please visit the artist Niki de Saint Phalle’s dedicated page or the page on Nouveau Réalisme to learn more about this art movement.

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