Nicolas Party - Wired: Online Auction London Wednesday, October 28, 2020 | Phillips

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  • Description

    Please note this lot is the property of a private individual.

  • Provenance

    Glasgow School of Art MFA Art Auction, 3 December 2011 (gifted by the artist)
    Acquired at the above sale by the present owner

  • Catalogue Essay

    ‘I think the element of timelessness is really fascinating with painting because there's so much tradition attached to it.’ Nicolas Party

    First revealed during Nicolas Party’s MFA degree auction at the Glasgow School of Art, Still Life is a stunning early example of the artist’s experimentation with the genre of still life, as well as a wonderful materialization of his ability to suffuse life in inanimate objects. Devised in warm, earthy tones, the painting combines clear figurative delineations with passages of abstraction, exemplified by the thick diagonal white line resting against the prevalent jug, and the chromatically divided background, revealing exquisite off-white and carmine areas. Rising higher than the central object’s typical size, Still Life furthermore demonstrates Party’s playfulness with scale and desire to represent the timeless volume of the object – themes which he continually explores throughout his painterly and sculptural practice. Consistently employing a geometric formal language, specifically defined by cubes, cylinders, cones, spheres and pyramids, Party creates a hierarchy of shapes which result in powerful paintings, which are at once familiar and surreal.

    The weight of Party’s visual lexicon is exquisitely and holistically incorporated in this early Still Life; the pot at the centre of the composition transcends both time and place in its liminal space. Deeply interested in the physical nature of objects and landscape, whether fruit, pots or trees, Party’s visual language taps into recognizable and tangible shapes rendered in evocative, bright hues. Incorporating sculptural elements into both his compositions and physical installations, Party’s work draws upon the classical architecture of temples and churches, namely the Convent of San Marco by Fra Angelico in Florence; the geometric curvature of the close arches intrinsic to these religious buildings are evident in his still lifes and landscapes. Party first began experimenting with painting at the age of 12, when he and his friends would apply graffiti on the walls of their hometown Lausanne, Switzerland, travelling Europe to expand their urban craft. During his MFA at the Glasgow School of Art, he would continue to exploit the collaborative and interdisciplinary nature of art by responding to fellow artists’ work by painting directly onto walls, frames and plinths, as well as creating immersive installations using a variety of media, like stone, ceramic and wood. The timelessness of representation, from Egyptian pottery to traditional Swiss landscape painting to Magritte’s surrealist compositions, are immediately recognizable in his sculptural and painterly renderings, where the curves of the teapot echo the masterfully crafted arcs of artisans throughout history, giving the central object it’s volumetric appearance.

    In Still Life, Party draws on not only architecture but the canon of still life compositions executed painterly masters from Paul Cézanne to Giorgio Morandi. Party explains, ‘I paint still lifes and I often paint pots; Morandi is a great source of inspiration’ (the artist, quoted in conversation with Jesse Wine, ‘Apples and Pairs’, Frieze, no. 175, November -December 2015.) Summoning art historical references as varied as Jean-Baptiste-Siméone Chardin to David Hockney – whilst at the same time incorporating hints of lightness, surrealism and humour, Party states, ‘For me, the most important lesson from Morandi is how to focus. His paintings are telling us: there are no bottles outside of the frame, so concentrate on looking at the ones in the picture. It’s a very difficult exercise to look at an object with a great deal of attention – to look only with your eyes and try to forget what you are looking at’. (the artist, quoted in conversation with Jesse Wine, ‘Apples and Pairs’, Frieze, no. 175, November -December 2015.) Imbued with expertly honed techniques passed down throughout the painterly tradition, the present work showcases Party’s mastery of oil painting in his own unique style.

  • 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


Still Life

signed and dated 'Nicolas Party 2011' on the reverse
oil on board
60.2 x 40.2 cm (23 3/4 x 15 7/8 in.)
Painted in 2011.

£80,000 - 120,000 

Sold for £100,800

Contact Specialist

Charlotte Gibbs

Head of Sale, London

+44 20 7901 7993

Wired: Online Auction

Online Auction 28 October - 5 November 2020