Niki de Saint Phalle

Niki de Saint Phalle Poster 1984 Montreux Jazz Festival
Jean Tinguely et Niki De Saint Phalle © Musee Tinguely Bale


After Tinguely came the turn of his wife Niki de Saint Phalle, whose poster overflows with infectious joy. It includes all of the elements that brought the French-American artist fame, most notably the drawing of a “Nana” dancing like a majorette. Much has been written about De Saint Phalle’s Nanas: are they a caustic portrayal of the feminine, or a threat to the patriarchy? The artist produced huge sculptures of these women in exuberant proportions and vibrant colours from a range of materials, including papier mâché and resin. One of them, equipped with angel’s wings, hangs from the ceiling of the Zurich train station. The colour of the Nana on this poster caused controversy, not least because the artist had also been asked to design the Detroit Festival poster. “There was no way the poster could show a large black woman in Detroit, so Niki de Saint-Phalle painted her pink,” recalled Pierre Keller.