By the time he signed onto the roster of Hauser & Wirth
this past June, Swiss artist Nicolas Party was already on a dramatic upward swing. His pleasantly stylized figurative paintings rendered in popping pastel hues, as well as matching sculptures, had been showcased in solo exhibitions in Europe and North America for the better part of a decade—including the Hammer Museum
in 2016, Modern Art Oxford
in 2017, and the Magritte Museum in 2018. Trendsetting collectors including Michael Xufu Huang, David Roberts, and the Rubells have snapped up Party’s works, and the artist recently curated the impressive exhibition “Pastel” at collector Glenn Fuhrman’s FLAG Art Foundation
in Chelsea, on view through February 15, 2020. And though Party will keep working with the same team of smaller galleries that have shown his work for years—Xavier Hufkens
, Kaufmann Repetto, the Modern Institute, Galerie Gregor Staiger, and Karma
—the backing of one of the world’s biggest galleries foreshadows big spikes in price and demand.
Party’s work has turned up at auction 26 times since he joined Hauser & Wirth (the lion’s share of his 36 appearances at auction ever). His auction record has been smashed twice in that time: First at Sotheby’s in Hong Kong, where his 2015 Portrait eclipsed its high estimate of HK$3 million (US$382,667) to sell for HK$5.6 million (US$726,430) in October; and again in November at Christie’s in Hong Kong, which sold his 2016 landscape Rocks for HK$8.7 million (US$1.1 million), officially ushering Party into the seven-figure club.
Earlier this month, Hauser & Wirth sold Party’s monumental pastel Trees (2019) for $385,000 at Art Basel in Miami Beach. Early next year, he will have his first solo show with his new gallery, taking over Hauser & Wirth’s sprawling Los Angeles complex to coincide with the second edition of Frieze Los Angeles.