Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Niki de Saint Phalle


Niki de Saint Phalle: Google sculpts a doodle for French artist
Sculptor was most famous for her ‘Nanas’; the colourful female figures that form the doodle in her honour




Google’s latest doodle celebrates the birthday of Niki de Saint Phalle, the artist and sculptor who rose to prominence in the 1960s by developing a trademark style of “shooting” paintings in which colour was shot on to canvasses.

Born in 1930 in the commune of Neuilly-sur-Seine in the western suburbs of Paris, her parents took her to her mother’s home city of New York in 1937, where she later worked as a fashion model, for Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and Elle among others.

She eloped in 1949 with Harry Matthews, a music student, and two years later moved with him to Paris, where she started to develop an interest in painting.

A relative late starter in that role, she had her first solo exhibition of paintings in Switzerland in 1956 but she turned out to be a prolific producer of work which led some to categorise her as a pop artist.

She divorced Matthews in 1960 and met Swiss artist Jean Tinguely, whose taste for auto-exploding sculptures and general incendiarism in art was close to her own.

It was a marriage of collaboration at work that lasted for both of them until his death in 1991. The best known of their many joint projects is the fountain in honour of Igor Stravinsky outside the Pompidou Centre in Paris.

Saint Phalle later diversified into creating a perfume and a perfume bottle (an example of which has been acquired by the Victoria and Albert museum in London), working on behalf of sufferers from Aids, and making films. Her death in San Diego in 2002 at the age of 71 was announced by the German city of Hanover, which had commissioned some of her best-known pieces of sculpture.

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