Who was the woman artist Niki de Saint Phalle?

The French-American artist Niki de Saint Phalle was a self-taught artist. Expressing herself through a variety of media, she 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 living in Paris.

The woman artist also became part of the Nouveau Réalisme art movement. Niki de Saint Phalle was born in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France, on 29 October 1930 to an American mother (Jeanne-Jacqueline Harper) and a French father (André Marie Fal de Saint-Phalle). After growing up in New York, 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. The woman artist painted her first works of art in 1950. The couple’s first child, Laura, was born in 1951. The following year, the family moved to Paris. Niki de Saint Phalle was hospitalised in 1953 for depression. It was the creative practice of painting above all that helped her to overcome her illness and, as a result, she decided to become an artist. Niki de Saint Phalle was, in this respect, a self-taught artist and painter. The family then moved to Mallorca, Spain, and Niki and Harry had their second child in 1955: Philip. Saint Phalle’s family later returned to Paris, where she met the artist Jean Tinguely, with whom she began to work. Niki and Harry separated in 1960. The artist then moved into her own studio alone, after which Niki de Saint Phalle and Jean Tinguely moved in together, sharing the same studio.

You can also visit Niki de Saint Phalle’s dedicated page to discover more about the woman artist’s works and exhibitions.

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