Niki de Saint Phalle | Sam Francis at Galerie Samuelis Baumgarte at Art Cologne 2023

At Art Cologne 2023, the gallery Samuelis Baumgarte (Bielefeld, Germany), presents a selection of works by Niki de Saint Phalle & Sam Francis. The presentation at the art fair is a more compact version of the gallery’s exhibition in the gallery’s space in Bielefeld.

Niki de Saint Phalle & Sam Francis at Galerie Samuelis Baumgarte at Art Cologne 2023. Cologne (Germany), November 16, 2023.

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Official description: Beginning in the 1950s, Niki de Saint Phalle’s first artistic works of her own were created, in which the self-taught artist caused an international sensation with her famous “shooting pictures.” Stylistically opposed to this, de Saint Phalle then developed the buxom and colorful “Nana” figures. With them, she explores the role of women and the image of women in society. The multifaceted sculptures are initially made of papier-mâché over wire scaffolding, later of polyester, and are painted in bright colors. The stylistic change in the works of the American abstract expressionist Sam Francis also falls into this art-historically formative period. In the 1960s, he developed a very personal form of spontaneous and gestural “dripping.” With circling and splashing movements, he directed the oil, acrylic and watercolor paints over the picture supports. His previously surface-covering compositions in monochrome values also continue to develop into his characteristic “islands of color” on the white canvas. With this typical application of color and the lyrical character of the liquid color Francis thereby also receives the art of the East and the spirituality of Zen Buddhism.

Key works by these two main protagonists of 20th century art enter into an exciting dialogue in the current exhibition. Their love of color is evident in both artistic positions as a leitmotif, both sculpturally and painterly. Highlights of the oeuvre of Niki de Saint Phalle and Sam Francis will be on display, ranging from strongly colored sculptures to works on paper. Abstract expressionism and tachist color fields meet a broad spectrum of positive figuration from five decades of both artists’ creative periods.

With over 40 works, the exhibition continues the series of our successful work shows of both artists over the past 20 years. Niki de Saint Phalle was also recently honored extensively in museums at the Kunsthaus Zürich, the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt and Sam Francis at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art on the occasion of his 100th birthday.

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