Artist Niki de Saint Phalle

Artist Niki de Saint Phalle (1930-2002) grew up partly in New York City, I was surprised to learn while researching her Nana sculptures. The beautiful Frenchie teenager attended some of my native city’s toniest private schools . . . but not for long; too rebellious. As her art evolved, success was quick to catch up. In the spring of 1968, a party of Niki’s monumental fiberglass Nanas took up residence in the Conservatory Garden of Central Park. Sharing the formal greenspace with the Nanas — seeming to tease them, according to some observers — were bristly metal “machines” constructed by Niki’s partner in art, Jean Tinguely. After six or so months, the dazzling Nanas would abandon Central Park — but they stayed with me. I’m a sentimental fan of the Paris Nanas, that (once again, with husband Tinguely’s works) adorn the Stravinsky Fountain adjacent to the Centre Pompidou museum. A wintry photo pilgrimage to the fountain pool by GallicFever master photographer Nathalie Prébende produced this satisfyingly brash Nana shot for our GF slide show.