Le Monstre. Original color litograph, unknown year.
Niki de Saint Phalle was a French-American naive artist, a sculptor, painter and filmmaker, also known for her social commitment and work and one of the most significant female and feminist artists of the 20th century. After an early marriage, she became an artist. Her firs artworks was the abstract paintings she made by placing paint-filled bags above canvases and shooting them, what was a form of protest against patriarchy and rigidity. Later, she started to create angry, violent assemblages shot by firearms, which became Nanas, colorful, huge sculptures of female figures, monsters and animals. “In the human heart there is an urge to destroy all. To destroy is to affirm one’s existence in the face of and against everything.”- she said. Inspired by Antoni Gaudí´s Parc Güell in Barcelona, Niki de Saint Phalle also created impressive Il Giardino dei Tarocchi (The Tarot Garden) on land she acquired in Tuscany. That is a garden filled with colorful sculptures based on Tarot card symbols. Even she had no formal art education, Saint Phalle was freely associated with many other contemporary artists, writers, and composers, but eccentric and temperamental style has been called “outsider art”. In this picture we see a monster with balloons playing with children. Monsters are associated with something terrible and dangerous, but in her art monsters are kind, benevolent and big-hearted.