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Niki de Saint Phalle Exhibition

Niki de Saint-Phalle

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Why you will love it?

A beautiful and interesting thematic and chronologic retrospective of the life of avant-garde contemporary French-American artist Niki de Saint-Phalle, with more than 200 works and archives gathered exceptionally at the Grand Palais. Enjoy! Parisianist.

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About this place

3 Avenue du Général Eisenhower, 75008 Paris
Line 1 - Champs Elysées Clémenceau

Monday : 10:00 am - 20:00 pm
more less
Monday : 10:00 am - 20:00 pm Tuesday : Closed Wednesday : 10:00 am - 22:00 pm Thursday : 10:00 am - 22:00 pm Friday : 10:00 am - 22:00 pm Saturday : 10:00 am - 22:00 pm Sunday : 10:00 am - 20:00 pm

Our Insiders' Article


Niki de Saint-Phalle is a French-American contemporary artist. She was born and grew up in 1930 and the United States, where she passed away in 2002, and both cultures are very present in her avant-gardist artistic universe. In France, Niki de Saint-Phalle was the only female “Nouveau Realisme” (new realism) artist. In the US, she has offered a new approach to Pop Art and has actively participated in the Neo-Dada movement. Until February 2nd 2015 at the Grand Palais, 200 of her works and archives, for the most part never exposed before, are displayed to try and show each different side of the artist: painter, graphic sculptor, experimental film-maker… The exhibition deciphers her feminist and political commitment, transcending the jovial aspect of her very colorful art. 


After having been welcomed by Niki de Saint-Phalle’s gun shots, her various works are to be discovered both chronologically and thematically throughout the dark rooms of the exhibition hall. Most of the themes that were dear to Niki de Saint-Phalle are shown and explained here, with a deeper analysis on the question of where women stand on our modern society, though an intelligent display of archives and musical ambiances next to the works of art. 

1st Part

The first halls of the Niki de Saint-Phalle exhibition enable the visitors to discover the artist’s universe chronologically. It therefore gives the chance for each visitor to interpret the reasons why Niki de Saint-Phalle was so politically engaged. What is brought forth and visible to all is the violence that Niki has inside her and channeled through art. Most of her artworks were created to sublime the rage boiling inside her and transform it into a non-violent artistic creation.

2nd part

The second large part of the exhibition deals with the different sides of a woman. Not necessarily her position in society in the 1970, but the sides of a woman as Niki de Saint-Phalle envisioned them. According to the artist, the arrival of a matriarchal society is a great way to face the failure of communism and capitalism, the 2 great models of the Cold War. The might of the women is symbolized through huge “Nanas” (ladies), sculptures that are around 4m (13ft) tall. Men therefore seem very small!

Parisianist Fun Fact: the biggest Nana is 9m (30ft) tall! 

3rd Part

Niki de Saint-Phalle never wanted to talk to the elite with an incomprehensible choice of words. She preferred to use fun and attention grabbing material and was one of the rare artists of her generation to create works of art that were entirely destined to the public, like the sculptures in the Garden of Tarot (“Il Giardino dei Tarocchi” in Italy). Niki de Saint-Phalle talks about society through her creations and therefore addresses them to the public that is directly concerned. It is by sharing the society’s suffering and by spreading its message that she has always dreamt of changing it.

4th Part

The shots fired is a perfect example of the sublimation of violence transferred by Niki de Saint-Phalle through her art. The idea is to express her rage by shooting cartridges of ink in order to create a work of art with result that is unbeknown to the artist. Because of her own struggles in life, Niki de Saint-Phalle knew all too well what destructive feelings were. These shots were sometimes filmed with spectators, always with the idea to have the public participate in her creations, and why not even guide them?

Parisianist Fun Fact: Niki de Saint-Phalle considered that her past could have led her to become a terrorist, but that art saved her for that awful destiny.


The exhibition Niki de Saint-Phalle at the Grand Palais is a modern exhibition that gives enough room to showcase the subjectivity of the artist. She is actually one of the best examples of artists that have used their art and creative skills to fight against the major conflicts of the 20th century. She knew how to use the media to her advantage in order to reach out to a large public and therefore perpetuate her art. And since some of these problems and conflicts are still going on today, we can only recommend to go to this exhibition and listen to what Niki has to say.

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