De Saint Phalle was born in a decidedly Catholic bankers family, daughter of a French father and an American mother. When she was three years old, the family moved to New York. There she spent her childhood and she was on her eleventh year traumatized because of sexual abuse by her father. They Later processed this experience in her surreal film ' Daddy ' and other works of art. Niki was housed in a monastery by her parents.
After leaving the monastery was De Saint Phalle model and married on her nineteenth with the American writer Harry Mathews. They had two children. Later she left the family. She came back to Paris In 1951 and in 1952 she began to paint. She was self-taught as an artist.
In 1955 began her collaboration with the Swiss new-realist artist Jean Tinguely, with whom she married on 13 June 1971.
From 1956 she created her first reliefs in plaster and other materials. Initially she exhibited with many aggressive, collage of found objects like rifles and pistols. Later made that place for the female ' Nana's '. Her Nana-figures, expressive in bright colors painted full length women images in polyester, are world famous and caused uproar in the modern art world. In 1960, she became a member of the group new realists. In 1966 a 27 foot long lying in Stockholm makes them Nana, to enter through the vagina. They also designed with Tinguely fountains.
From 1979 in Garavicchio, De Saint Phalle lived in the Italian Tuscany. There she worked under more fifteen years to figures from the Tarot card game, attaching them to her sculpture park Giardino dei Tarocchi form gave. She was also for the Noah's Ark animal figures in Israel.
After Tinguely's death (30 August 1991), she moved to San Diego in California because of the clean air. She died there on 21 May 2002 after a long illness at the age of 71.
Also in South-France De Saint Phalle is extremely appreciated. There are around Nice to find several of her images, among other things in the garden of the famous hotel Negresco in Nice. Three of her works are located in the Skulpturenpark Kulturforum Würth (Chur) (part of the Sammlung Würth) in the Swiss city of Chur
In Valbonne, France, it is built South-Collège de Valbonne, named after her. Her family made have any objections, because her name was not yet public. Meanwhile, hot weather the college Collège de Niki de Saint Phalle.
- Niki Museum in Nasu
- Museum of Fine Arts in Houston
- Museum of Modern Art in New York City
- Musée d'Art Moderne et d'Art Contemporain (Nice) in Nice
- 1972- Jewel 1900-1972, De Zonnehof, Amersfoort.
- Sieraad 1900-1972, first triennale Amersfoort 2 August to 1 October 1972 (1972). Rotterdam: Lemniscate. ISBN 9060691318