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Wednesday, 22 May, 2002, 14:07 GMT 15:07 UK
Niki de Saint Phalle dies
Niki de Saint Phalle
She created sculptures, paintings and perfume
Artist and sculptor Niki de Saint Phalle has died in a hospital in San Diego at the age of 71.

Her death, after a long illness, was announced by the German city of Hanover, which commissioned some of her most famous sculptures.

Born in 1930 at Neuilly-sur-Seine, France, Niki de Saint Phalle moved to the US at an early age.

In the late 1940s she started working as a fashion model for Vogue, Elle, and other French and American magazines.

She created a statue of basketball star Michael Jordan
She created a statue of basketball star Michael Jordan
She moved to Paris in 1952 with her first husband Harry Mathews, and started to develop an interest in painting, staging her first solo exhibition of paintings in Switzerland in 1956.

In 1960 she divorced Mathews and met her long-time collaborator, Swiss artist Jean Tinguely.

During the following decade she developed her trademark "shooting" paintings or "tirs", in which she shot canvases with paint, often as a kind of performance art.

She also developed a distinctive sculptural style, creating large pieces known as "Nanas", exaggerated "earth mother" figures.

She married Tinguely in 1971 and started diversifying into jewellery, and in 1974 built three large scale "Nanas" for the city of Hanover.

In the 1980s, she wrote and illustrated a book on Aids in collaboration with Dr Silvio Barandun, and was commissioned to create a fountain for the Georges Pompidou centre in Paris.

Following the commercial success of Niki de Saint Phalle perfume, she was able to create a park in Tuscany, northern Italy full of giant sculptures based on Tarot cards.

Her husband Jean Tinguely died in 1991, and a few years later she moved to California.

See also:

21 May 02 | Entertainment
29 Jun 01 | Entertainment
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