Nicolas Party helps resuscitate art market

[15/09/2020]

 

Ludic and colourful, the work of this Swiss artist is attracting the attention of international collectors.

Vue of Pathway installation, Dallas Museum of art, Dallas, 2016, Courtesy of the artist and Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas (source Hauser & Wirth website)

Vue of Pathway installation, Dallas Museum of art, Dallas, 2016, Courtesy of the artist and Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas (source Hauser & Wirth website)

 

Nicolas PARTY was born in Lausanne in 1980 and now lives between Brussels and New York. Exhibited by several major international galleries and museums, last year he became one of the youngest recruits at Hauser & Wirth, a highly prestigious Swiss gallery with ten branches around the world and a significant digital lead via its ArtLab programs. Party has managed, in parallel, to maintain his relations with an international network of galleries, including Xavier Hufkens in Brussels, Kaufmann Repetto in Milan, Galerie Gregor Staiger in Zurich and Karma in New York, facilitating impressive institutional exhibitions in public spaces, including the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington DC and in private cultural venues (Marciano Art Foundation in Los Angeles, M WOODS in Beijing, and the Magritte museum in Brussels). But what exactly is so unique about the work of this artist that has seduced the major international galleries?

His saturated, sometimes electric, colours… his strange and sensual shapes… and his fabulous imagination have quickly won over international collectors.

A new approach to pastels

Polychrome, his 4th and most recent (2019) solo show at the Modern Institute in Glasgow, perfectly illustrated Nicolas Party’s work. His works were presented within an environment entirely controlled by the artist, with intensely-coloured murals serving as backdrops to his own paintings. Almost all of his works are done in pastel, a rare medium in Contemporary creation, but one which Party has revived with tremendous intensity, constantly blurring the line between painting and drawing. Fascinating and intriguing, his singular universe challenges the conventions of figurative painting through dreamlike landscapes populated by animals and characters, sculptures with anthropomorphic shapes or still lifes in bright and acidic colours. He has managed to create a unique world, interweaving almost all of art history’s key movements and codes… from DELACROIX to PICASSO, from David HOCKNEY to Surrealism, via graffiti and Pop Art.

Much appreciated by collectors

His saturated, sometimes electric colours, his strange and sensual shapes, and his fabulous imagination have quickly won over international collectors, from New York to Hong Kong.

 

Nicolas Party_Geographic distribution at auction_EN

Nicolas Party. Geographic distribution at auction (copyright artprice.com)

 

No less than 75 of his works have been offered at auction over the past four years, with prices rising sharply, notably since the announcement of his contract with the mega-gallery Hauser & Wirth. In May 2019, one of his two-metre pastel paintings (Landscape, 2015) fetched $608,000 (4x its high estimate) marking the beginning of a rush we suspect is likely to intensify. The auction record for the young prodigy has since been broken four times and the price of his large works has risen from $100,000 to a million in just a few months.
His latest record (July 2020) rewarded a Still life (2015) that fetched $1.1 million, exceeding its high estimate of almost $500,000 during Christie’s famous online sale One: A Global Sale of the 20th Century. Party is now in the exclusive million-plus club of living artists.

In 2019, Nicolas Party emerged as the top performing under-40 artist at auction.

This sudden surge in demand is of course being closely watched by the galleries representing the artist, which now ensure the placement of his works in institutional collections or with trusted private collectors, who do not – a priori – buy for speculative reasons.

However, considering the growing demand from a wide spectrum of the global art market’s key players and the commitment and efforts of his galleries, the future of this young artist looks very promising. Already 151st in our global ranking of top-performing artists, all periods of creation combined, in 2019, Nicolas Party emerged as the top-performing under-40 artist at auction, ahead of the market’s other young stars, Oscar MURILLO and Tschabalala SELF.

Have a look at Nicolas Party’s turnover, number of sold lots and sales geographic distribution: https://www.artprice.com/artist/614591/nicolas-party/index