The Paris-based exhibition hall and museum was dedicated "by the French Republic to the glory of French art."
Sculptor, painter, and filmmaker Niki de Saint Phalle was born in France in 1930 and lived in Europe and the United States until her death in Southern California in 2002. A member of the Nouveau Realisme movement, Saint Phalle infused her work with commentary on race, gender, politics, pandemics and climate change — issues that still resonate today. In 2000, she was awarded the Praemium Imperial Prize, considered the Nobel Prize of the art world.
One of the most enduring works of art associated with Saint Phalle is Le Cyclop, a massive monument located in Milly-la-Forêt, France. A giant, one-eyed head that is covered in mirrors, Le Cyclop is a 75-foot-tall sculpture constructed from more than 300 tons of industrial debris, and it was created by Saint Phalle's husband, Swiss artist Jean Tinguely, along with Saint Phalle and a group of artist friends. The group began working on Le Cyclop in 1969, and they spent more than 20 years building the sculpture. Today, Le Cyclop belongs to the French government and remains a popular attraction for tourists and locals.
Two years before her death, Niki de Saint Phalle began working on Queen Califia's Magical Circle, her only American sculpture garden and last major project. The sculpture garden is situated on a 12-acre natural habitat in Escondido, California. Its imagery was influenced by early California history, myth, and legend, Native American and Meso-American culture, and indigenous wildlife and plant species. Although Saint Phalle died before the garden's completion, her granddaughter and assistants carried the project through to fruition. Queen Califia's Magical Circle welcomes families and students to experience its creative and tranquil environment.
Grand Palais - Niki Exhibition
Programming - Queen Califa's Magical Circle (City of Escondido)