Niki de Saint Phalle
Niki de Saint Phalle (born Catherine-Marie-Agnès Fal de Saint Phalle, 29 October 1930 – 21 May 2002) was a French-American sculptor, painter, and filmmaker. Widely noted as one of the few female monumental sculptors, Saint Phalle was also known for her social commitment and work. Niki was born near Paris as Catherine-Marie-Agnes Fal de Saint Phalle to an aristrocratic French banker, André, and an American woman, Jacqueline Harper.
In 1929 the stock market crash that precipitated the Great Depression had occurred, and 12 months later the French economy was in difficulties. Niki’s parents decided they would be better off in America and so they left their small baby with her paternal grandparents in Nievre, three hours from Paris. The couple’s son, John, travelled to America with his parents. Three years later, Niki was sent for. Her father was working again as a banker and the family was based in Manhattan, on the Upper East Side. After an early marriage and two children, Niki began creating art in a naïve, experimental style. She first received worldwide attention for angry, violent assemblages which had been shot by firearms. Her idiosyncratic style has been called "outsider art"; she had no formal training in art, but associated freely with many other contemporary artists, writers, and composers.