Niki de Saint Phalle (1930-2002) lived with her parents in Greenwich, Connecticut. She was expelled from the Convent School of the Sacred Heart in New York City in 1937 and then the Bearley School in New York in 1942 for painting the fig leaves on statues red. After graduating from Oldfields School, de Saint Phalle tried to reject her conservative upbringing but felt herself falling into the same lifestyle. She continued painting and moved to Spain where she visited Antonio Gaudi’s Park Güell. She became inspired by this work and began experimenting with alternative media for her art. She created “shooting paintings” and polyster and wire Nana dolls. De Saint Phalle acquired land in Italy in 1979 to begin building her own sculpture garden. With no deadline, she was able to work in complete freedom, living alone in one of the sculptures in the garden. The Tarot Garden contains 22 sculptures of images from tarot cards and is currently open to the public. De Saint Phalle has also created large scale sculpture installations and gardens in several other parts of the world, including California, Paris, and Germany.
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