Nicolas Party - 20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale Hong Kong Tuesday, June 21, 2022 | Phillips

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  • “When I paint pots, it’s the fact of representing an object that contains something you can’t see that interests me. You have to imagine it. Pots, vases, cups and other teapots are objects that have a function to contain something… Do you remember that scene from the film Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, when at the end of the movie he must choose the right cup? He is faced with all these pots of different shapes and he must choose one, depending on its shape. In this case, it isn’t the content that has a magical power, but the pot.”
    — Nicolas Party


    Executed in 2015, Panorama is an important work from Nicolas Party’s oeuvre that comprised part of PANORAMA, the artist’s debut institutional exhibition in Switzerland, hosted by SALTS in Basel between 17 June – 25 July 2015. Originally existing as part of a larger installation that Party painted in situ, the site-specific work was inspired by the history of the ‘panorama’, a 19th Century form of entertainment that preceded cinema and was long regarded as among the most astonishing visual spectacles.


    The present work (top left) exhibited as part of a larger installation, PANORAMA (2015), exhibited at Basel, SALTS, Nicolas Party: PANORAMA, 17 June – 25 July 2015
    Image Courtesy of the artist and The Modern Institute/Toby Webster Ltd, Glasgow Photography: Stefan Jaeggi

    “When you look at an artwork from the past, you feel that time becomes much more elastic. Time and history become a ‘zone’ where you can travel.”
    — Nicolas Party

    Panoramas were exceptionally large paintings that depicted landscapes, city views or battle scenes, typically exhibited on the walls of a large cylinder. Situated in the middle, viewers would turn around to see all points of the horizon of a painted view that enveloped them from all sides, resulting in a convincing visual delusion that made spectators feel as if they had been magically transported into a foreign location. A similar effect can be found in traditional Chinese and Japanese hand scroll paintings, of landscape or narrative-driven compositions executed on rolled paper or silk.


    For the 2015 exhibition, Party transformed the exterior of an outdoor exhibition box at SALTS into a single, large-scale cube. To do this, he firstly secured together various panels of wood together, to construct the overall square shape. Onto it, he painted blue and white coloured still life and portraiture, of which the present work was subsequently cut from. As such, although each composition is considered individual, there are features such as the vertical line that runs vertically down the centre-left of the present work, that provide a visual link back to the construction of the entire installation as a whole. 


    Entirely masking the original exhibition space with his 360-degree painting, Party draws from the history of panoramic painting as viewers cannot view the entire scene from one vantage point. Unlike traditional panoramas, however, where the audience could simply turn their head, Party’s installation required his audience to walk around the object in its entirety to view each unique painting set against monochromatic stripes that recall the inside covers of Belgian cartoonist Hergé’s The Adventures of Tintin.


    Hergé, The Adventure’s of Tintin, Issue #15 (1950)


    At the same time, the piece nods to Party’s early interest in graffiti and murals as he merges highbrow aesthetics with compositions of art historical genres and styles that are characteristic of his iconography. Specifically, the present work portrays a still life scene of two pots symmetrically facing each other, as if in conversation. Indeed, playing to this idea of traditional still life works being anything but still, Party explains, ‘I really like the word “still life”. Something alive, but with no movement. It makes me think of the children’s game, “1, 2, 3 Soleil”, where you need to freeze when a designated player shouts the word “sun!” You need to stay perfectly still, and the player has to observe if anybody is moving, making any signs of life… That’s what Morandi was doing. He was observing his pots for so long – a lifetime – that he was able to see matter moving. Clay or glass or any kind of material is also always moving and transforming, just at a different pace. If you look at Morandi’s paintings, you can see that everything is moving and that the pots are in the process of transforming into something else.’ i



    Giorgio Morandi, Still Life, 1962


    Widely considered as one of the most critically acclaimed artists of his generation, Party’s work has been exhibited internationally in major institutional venues including at Le Consortium in Dijon (2021), the MASI Lugano (2021); FLAG Art Foundation, New York (2019); M WOODS, Beijing (2018-2019); and Magritte Museum, Brussels (2018).


    His most recent exhibition is currently on view at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts until 16 October 2022. Titled l’heure mauve, the show draws together Party’s landscapes, portraits, and still lifes, whilst also features a site-specific temporary mural executed in pastels.


    Party’s work is represented in over 30 public collections worldwide, including K11 Art Foundation, Hong Kong; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Long Museum, Shanghai; Fondazione Fiera Milano, Milan; M WOODS, Beijing; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris; and the Rubell Family Collection, Miami.


    i Nicolas Party, quoted in Rita Vitorelli, ‘Interview – Nicolas Party’, Spike Art Magazine, Summer 2015, online

    • Provenance

      SALTS, Basel
      Private Collection, Switzerland (acquired from the above in 2015)
      Private Collection, Europe
      Acquired from the above by the present owner

    • Exhibited

      Basel, SALTS, Nicolas Party: PANORAMA, 17 June – 25 July 2015

    • Literature

      Michele Robecchi, ed., Nicolas Party, London, 2021, p.146 (installation view illustrated, p.147)

    • Artist Biography

      Nicolas Party

      Nicolas Party (b. 1980) is a Swiss visual artist living and working in New York City and Brussels.
      He received his BFA from the Lausanne School of Art in 2004 and his MFA from the Glasgow
      School of Art, in Glasgow, Scotland in 2009. Party’s works on paper and canvas are most often done
      in colorful soft pastel, the most common subject matter being fantastical still life and portraits.


      Recent solo exhibitions include Karma, New York (2021–22, 2017); Le Consortium,
      Dijon, France (2021); Kunsthalle Marcel Duchamp, Cully, Switzerland (2021); MASI
      Lugano, Switzerland (2021); Hauser & Wirth, Los Angeles (2020); Xavier Hufkens,
      Brussels (2019); Modern Institute, Glasgow (2019); M Woods Museum, Beijing
      (2018); Magritte Museum, Brussels (2018); Kaufmann Repetto, Milan (2018);
      Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2016); and Dallas Museum of Art (2016). Party’s
      work is represented in the collections of the David Roberts Art Foundation, London;
      Migros Museum, Zurich; Museum Folkwang, Essen, Germany; and the Sifang Art
      Museum, Nanjing, China.

      View More Works

Property of an Important Asian Collector



acrylic on wood
183 x 163 cm. (72 x 64 1/8 in.)
Painted in 2015.

Full Cataloguing

HK$5,000,000 - 7,000,000 

Contact Specialist

Danielle So
Specialist, Head of Day Sale
+852 2318 2027

20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale

Hong Kong Auction 21 June 2022