In the mid 60s, Niki de Saint Phalle created her famous body of work “les Nanas”. The artist created Black Nanas as tributes to black women, whom she believed were doubly victimized, as being both women and black. Saint Phalle said, “I am in solidarity with all those that society and the law excludes and crushe[s].” The Whitney Museum of American Art in New York acquires the sculpture Black Venus, and exhibits it at its April exhibition, Contemporary American Sculpture, Selection 2, opening on April 4th, 1969.
In 1969, she was interviewed in her studio and asked about the position of women in society she declared that “it’s incredible that as much as women are emancipated, yet politically, we play no role.(…) I think women could administer this world much better. Black power and woman power, they get together... they take everything. A new world of Joy”
The comment of her partner and later husband the artist Jean Tinguely is based on his quote: “To me art is a form of manifest revolt, total and complete.”
The artist Jackie Matisse, and granddaughter of Henri Matisse befriended Niki de St Phalle while they were students at the Brearley School in New York, and they remained lifelong friends. Jasper Johns was among her inspirations and close friends.
Sources: Niki de Saint Phalle: the artist's workshop, The Menil Archives, The Menil Collection, Houston.
My wild friend, Niki de Saint Phalle, Jacqueline Matisse Monnier, Tate, 2008
Niki #nanapower, 2021, Acrylic on canvas, 14" x 11" (36 x 28 cm)