The French artist and sculptor Niki de Saint Phalle has died after a long illness in California.
Niki de Saint Phalle was known for her colourful, voluminous sculptures
On Wednesday, the German city of Hanover announced the death of Niki de Sant Phalle, the French artist and sculptor.
Born Catherine Marie-Agnes Fal de Saint Phalle in 1930 in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France, Nikki de Saint Phalle moved to the US at the age of three.
She started her career as a model for Vogue, Elle, and other French and American magazines.
In 1952 she moved to Paris with her first husband Harry Mathews, to study theatre and acting.
However, it was only after a nervous breakdown that she concentrated fully on painting, staging her first solo exhibition in Switzerland in 1956.
In 1960 she seperated from her husband and joined her long-time collaborator Swiss artist Jean Tinguely.
It was in the following decade that she came to be famous for her "tirs", or "shooting" paintings, which were created by someone shooting at a canvas with paint.
Her other, possibly most distinctive style, are her large sculptures, also know as "Nanas", huge figures of women. Three of these can be seen in the German city of Hanover, where they represent Sophie, Charlotte and Caroline, three historically distinguished women from the city.
In the 80s, she became involved in AIDS awareness programmes, and wrote an illustrated book titled "AIDS: You Can't Catch it Holding Hands".
The commercial success of a Niki de Sant Phalle perfume led to the creation of a public garden in Tuscany, Italy, which is full of sculptures based on tarot cards.
Her works are shown in leading museums all over the world.
In the 90s, Niki de Sant Phalle (photo) moved to California. She died in San Diego, after a long illness, this week.