Niki de Saint Phalle’s granddaughter Bloum Cardenas (right), great-granddaughter Dawn Cardenas and daughter Laura Gabriela-Duke with the artist’s “#19 Baseball Player.” Photo by Chris Jennewein

Three large mosaic sculptures by an internationally renowned French artist long associated with San Diego were unveiled Sunday at the waterfront park in downtown San Diego.

“Serpent Tree,” “Cat” and “#19 Baseball Player” by Niki de Saint Phalle are on loan for up to a dozen years from the Niki Charitable Art Foundation.

“There will be thousands and thousands of people who will see these pieces,” said Supervisor Ron Roberts, an architect by training, who helped select the sculptures.

Children play on “Cat” by Niki de Saint Phalle. Photo by Chris Jennewein

The artist has numerous works in San Diego, including “Sun God” on the UC San Diego campus and “Queen Califia’s Magical Circle” in Kit Carson Park in Escondido.

Saint Phalle, who was married to Swiss kinetic artist Jean Tinguely, moved to La Jolla in 1993 following his death and lived and worked here until her death in 2002.

Three generations of her family — daughter, granddaughter and great-granddaughter — were on hand for the unveiling ceremony.

“We’re very proud and very happy that she continues to be part of San Diego. She felt really adopted,” said Bloum Cardenas, her granddaughter.

She said her grandmother would be very pleased with the public location because she believed “art is not separated or segregated from life.”

The unveiling in front of the County Administration Center was the start of a five-hour event designed to celebrate Mother’s Day and give summer an early welcome, with live music, food trucks, zip lines and children’s activities.

“Serpent Tree” by Niki de Saint Phalle on loan to the County of San Diego. Photo by Chris Jennewein
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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.