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Niki de Saint Phalle at the Grand Palais

Niki de Saint Phalle at the Grand Palais

For the first time, the Grand Palais opens its doors to the works of Niki de Saint Phalle, an extraordinary female artist. A unique opportunity to admire his famous "girls", brilliant works of curves and colors, but also the more intimate montages of the Franco-American painter and sculptor. A committed feminist and sometimes disparaged artist, Niki de Saint Phalle has often amazed her contemporaries with her tireless energy and exceptional creative flair. We rediscover today with happiness his performances full of joie de vivre, just like his darkest works. Deciphering a life at a hundred hours ...

The journey of an art lover

Challenged early on by the unequal opportunities faced by women and the lack of female models to identify with, Niki de Saint Phalle (1930 - 2002) decided in adolescence to "become a heroine". After a childhood spent in the United States, it was in Paris that she decided to devote her life to art as a self-taught artist: the very particular post-war atmosphere that then reigned in the capital would inspire to build his artistic universe. Quickly, two contradictory feelings will emerge - and coexist - in his works: violence and chaos on the one hand, joie de vivre on the other. When she imagines her "shots", performances conceived in public using a rifle and bags of colors, Niki de Saint Phalle created scandal and at the same time joined the movement of new realists. But it is undoubtedly her "Nanas", sculptures representing the amplified world of women, which will definitively make her one of the most popular artists of the middle of the 20th century.

The power girl

All her life, Niki de Saint Phalle would fight against the traditional model of matriarchal society. Anticipating the first feminist movements, she will make women the main subject of her works by dealing with aspects hitherto neglected by other artists. These assemblies with evocative titles - Brides, Births, Prostitutes, Witches, Goddesses - were quickly followed by works of wool and papier-mâché that she called her "Nanas". Both joyful and powerful, these women with their often plump belly form the manifestos of a new world, in which women hold power.

An exceptional retrospective

The work of Saint Phalle, painter, sculptor, but also director, writer, architect and performer, is rich and eclectic. From September 17, 2014 to February 2, 2015, the Grand Palais presents a huge retrospective gathering 200 of its montages, sculptures and archives, many of which are unpublished. On a 2000 m2 chronological and thematic route, punctuated with videos in which the artist comments on his work, the visitor immerses himself in the unique universe of the artist throughout his journey. To discover without delay!