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  • Niki de Saint Phalle Nana Sante 1999

    Niki de Saint Phalle
    Nana Sante 1999
    614 x 492 mm

    Donation de l’artiste. Collection Mamac, Nice

  • Niki de Saint Phalle The Devil 1998

    Niki de Saint Phalle
    The Devil
    1998
    Silk-screen
    752 x 562 mm

    Donation de l’artiste. Collection Mamac, Nice

The Tarot Garden

I was convinced, as if I had received a divine revelation, that I would, too, create an ideal palace in my lifetime.

In 1979 Saint Phalle began to realise a lifelong ambition to create a magical garden based upon the major arcana of the Tarot deck. The idea came from a visit in 1955 to Antonio Gaudi’s Park Güell, a public garden in Barcelona, the scale and beauty of which fascinated her. The acquisition of a large piece of land in Tuscany finally allowed Saint Phalle to turn her dream into a reality. The Tarot Garden was to be monumental in scale, a bold, imaginative world full of bright colours and fantasy. Through its creation she wanted to demonstrate that a woman was as capable as a man of producing a work on such an ambitious scale. The garden opened to the public in 1998.

This room brings together The Devil O.J. 1988, a model of one of the sculptures made for the garden, with drawings of other Tarot cards brought to life as sculptures within it. Saint Phalle was fascinated by Tarot’s metaphysical qualities and its concern for life’s experiences and self-knowledge which she connected to her own love of life and exploration of human emotion.

Other drawings in this room return to the themes revealed earlier in the exhibition including personal feelings, mythical creatures and the Nanas. The Tarot Garden along with these late works show Saint Phalle’s relentless artistic pursuit and desire to be accepted as an equal amongst her male peers. Never following trends and remaining true to her own style, she let her imagination guide her, giving her freedom from the constraints she had felt so early in life.

Other works in this room

The Devil, O.J. 1988
2600 x 2250 x 1100 mm
Collection Sprengel Museum, Hannover, DE

Dear Laura 1980
Silk-screen
520 x 730 mm
Donation de l’artiste. Collection Mamac, Nice

Black is different 1994
Silk-screen
800 x 1200 mm
Donation de l’artiste. Collection Mamac, Nice

L’arbre de la vie 1987
Silk-screen
485 x 635
Donation de l’artiste. Collection Mamac, Nice

L’ange Protecteur 1997
Lithograph
755 x 565 mm
Donation de l’artiste. Collection Mamac, Nice

La Justice (Card 8) 1999
Lithograph
755 x 565 mm
Donation de l’artiste. Collection Mamac, Nice

The Hierophant Card V 1998
Lithograph
755 x 565 mm
Donation de l’artiste. Collection Mamac, Nice

L’estrella 1997
Lithograph  555 x 400 mm
Donation de l’artiste. Collection Mamac, Nice

Rhino 1995
Lithograph and collage
305 x 460 mm
Donation de l’artiste. Collection Mamac, Nice

Austrich 1995
Lithograph
660 x 490 mm
Donation de l’artiste. Collection Mamac, Nice

Noah’s Animals 1996
Lithograph
620 x 800 mm
Donation de l’artiste. Collection Mamac, Nice

Tarot Garden 1991
Lithograph
610 x 800 mm
Donation de l’artiste. Collection Mamac, Nice

La Lune 1997
Lithograph
755 x565 mm
Donation de l’artiste. Collection Mamac, Nice

The Sun 1998
Lithograph
755 x 565 mm
Donation de l’artiste. Collection Mamac, Nice

The Falling Tower 1997
Lithograph
755 x 565 mm
Donation de l’artiste. Collection Mamac, Nice

Strength (Card II) 1998
Lithograph
565 x 755 mm
Donation de l’artiste. Collection Mamac, Nice

Monster 1996
Lithograph
236 x 240 mm
Collection Sprengel Museum, Hannover, DE

Temperance 1994
Silk-screen
800 x 1200 mm
Donation de l’artiste. Collection Mamac, Nice

The Hanged Man 1999
Lithograph
755 x 656 mm
Donation de l’artiste. Collection Mamac, Nice