Monday, April 1, 2013

Die Waldaff by Niki de Saint-Phalle (1962)

Our artist here has a distinctive taste for exploration. Reading about her many different phases and her sources of inspiration, I have found a way to cope with the understanding of the expressions given.

It is layers of understanding the diversity of her mind that is the underlying effect of optimism and certainty.
This specific sculpture was made of polychrome polyester, and it has very light vibrant colors. The statue is wearing a yellow dress with roses, gold leggings, red stilettos, patterned shirt, and an extreme small head within.

I can imagine meanings of this sculpture beyond anything I could possibly comprehend, but then again the research specifies my view. I feel free to speak about her experience to express how the female role was and is through her art.

The sculpture seen is baptized Nana, or nanas (in plural) which means chick, girl, or babe in French, and it is said that our artist was inspired by her friend’s pregnancy to produce these biological metaphysical figures. Most of her work is rather abstract as to forms, so easily observed forms.

This specific sculpture, I would like to interpret myself without any help from outside sources. I believe that this sculpture is showing the social norm to how a woman is perceived. The social norm around large breast and back has been the over generalized stigma for many years.

In the Middle East, you are considered a rich woman if you are light skinned and thick, and poor if dark skinned and skinny. That goes along for many cultures in the world, and it is considerably disturbing to think about a specific way to look (body form) to be socially accepted or neglected, but back to the sculpture, I feel like it is creating the illusion of protest to society, because of the size of the head. I feel like the emphasis is put to the body, and it is saying that: See! See, how much you magnified and adored a simple body (Being the BIG part, body), whereas you forgot who I really am, and what I really stand for and believe in (being the little part, head).

There is a great interplay with cause & effect, positive & negative, pros & cons. This sculpture is open for a lot of interpretation on many different spectra.

In the end, I would like to include some images of her most famous work with paraphrases, because it is something that is definitely food for thought to understand the artist.


  1. The last image of the inflatable is neither by artist Niki de Saint Phalle nor licensed. Please remove it in context of the blog being on artist Niki de Saint Phalle and her work, or mention that it is inspired by her art. Thank you. You might like to know that the beautiful "Waldaff" is a lost sculpture: end of 2001 the Centre George Pompidou reported it "missing" and Niki was quite furious about it as "La Waldaff" is such a significant example of her oeuvre...

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  3. The sculpture was made in 1965...and "Nana" stems from the French meaning for babe/chick/easy girl...

  4. I apologize for the inconvenience it may have cost you, but I am solely an art lover trying to educate myself and others through the public. I appreciate your concern, but I clearly mention that it is paraphrases of the work. Nevertheless, I have taken the picture of the inflatable out of the blog. I had no clue about the loss of the sculpture, but I must say that it makes me sad as well. Furthermore, I would like to mention that the sculpture was made in 1962 and not 1965 according to The Oxford Encyclopedia of Women in World History: 4 Volume Set page 514.

  5. No need to apologize, Ahmed. Self-education is always appreciated; I merely corrected misconceptions that are unfortunately all over the internet. If you were to check Niki's biography you can see that Niki did not make her first Nanas until 1965. In 1962 she was shooting the so-called Tirs and she was quite infamous for it.
    Sadly, Oxford Encyclopedia is incorrect with the dating of this particular sculpture, and many exhibition catalogues of the artist published prior to the Oxford Encyclopedia of 2007 prove this.
    Check out this thesis by Paul Brutsche...he describes "La Waldaff" on page 19:
    Hope you will find this interesting and further your understanding of Nanas. Vive Niki!