"La Jolla was the home of famed French-American self-taught artist Niki de Saint Phalle during the last nine years of her life. Nike and Mingei International Museum's late founder, Martha Longenecker, were close friends during that period. Two large exhibitions of Niki's work were mounted by the Museum in 1998 and 2005. Angel of Temperance was the centerpiece of the 1998 exhibition.
"Angel of Temperance" is one of the 22 major arcana or trump cards, in the Tarot card deck, invented in the 1400s in Italy. Niki de Saint Phalle with artist colleagues, over a period of 20 years, created her largest outdoor work, The Garden of Tarots, in Garavicchio, Italy, an hour and a half northwest of Rome. Found there is a monumental sculpture or small building for each of the 22 tarot figures.
"Niki designed this Angel of Temperance for the Cornell Rotunda. It is based on an earlier one twice the size that hangs high in the Zurich Train Station in Switzerland. As an exemplar of temperance the angle pours the elixir of life back and forth between vessels, keeping life forces and drives in balance. Hovering here at the heart of the Museum, Niki's Angel has become the guardian spirit of Mingei International Museum." (From info card.)