Niki de Saint Phalle was a feminist Franco-American painter and sculptor who, throughout her career, wanted to assert the power of women.
She became feminist at the age of 12
Niki de SAINT PHALLE became a feminist at the age of 12. She didn’t want to become a homemaker like her mother. Her first husband, Harry MATTHEWS, helped with the housework with her. Agnès VARDA and Jane FONDA asked her to join the movement, but she did not feel the need because she felt that her work had feminist value. Her works have become monumental. Later, she participated in the emergence of feminism through her art, in particular with her series Les Tirs and Les Nanas, and is now in the consciousness of the international public as an icon of this movement.
She wanted to see female power spread
Her emancipatory perspective is more relevant than ever, as her works testify to the traumas experienced and overcome by women. Thanks to the breadth of the #MeToo movement, several women have recently spoken out about experiences of harassment, touching and sexual assault. This movement seems to share Niki de Saint Phalle’s wish to see female power spread and to encourage women to free themselves by breaking the silence.
She began her career in a psychiatric hospital
Like her works, the singular career of Niki de Saint Phalle does not fail to attract attention. Self-taught, it was in 1953, during what was then called a nervous breakdown and while she was interned in the psychiatric hospital of Nice that the one who had first been a model began to paint and create. In a book, she would later reveal that she had been raped by her father when she was 11 years old. Over the course of her career, Niki de Saint Phalle, who in the 1960s was made famous for her rifle shots at pockets of color hung on canvases, created emblematic works well known to all. Monumental works have, for example, seen the light of day, in particular the « Nanas » made of papier-mâché and polyester. Or, in Beaubourg, at the foot of the Georges-Pompidou center building, in the heart of Paris, the Stravinsky Fountain (1983) created with Jean Tinguely.