N  I  C  O  L  A  S      S  A  G  E

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N I C O L A S   S A G E

Born in 1988, based in Paris.

I am an architect and figurative painter, leaning toward realism while keeping impressionism and abstraction in mind.
Oil paint is my medium of predilection, although I do produces pieces from other techniques, like etching, lithography and monotype.
Even though I am very interested in science and technology, the physicality of the materials I use is very important to me. I find the creaminess of the paint, the texture of the linen and the warmth of the copper very attractive. I feel this attention to materiality helps me perceive the world in a deeper and more accurate way.

I work both outside (in “plein-air”) and in my studio, with two axis in mind :

- How do we perceive the world around us through vision, how can we find interest (some would say beauty) in our direct environment ?

- How our inner life can be strange, unsettling, influencing our perceptions and how we define “reality”.

The plein-air process is an exploration of the world, very akin to the early stages of an architectural project. Surveying the place, carefully looking, and painting it honestly. “Mas integro” says Antonio López García. I find transcendentalism interesting in it’s approach to beauty and landscape and I see a clear relation with plein-air painting. While exploring a place, I become extremely aware of what surrounds me – shapes, colours, sounds – and I often find something worth of interest where most people would have walked-by without stopping. This practice of plein-air painting trained me to be more receptive of what’s in front of me, and I found that it changed my attitude toward life in general. I am hoping that I am able to convey something that people were not aware of, a sense of beauty that was hiding in plain sight. I am trying to share my capacity of seeing, of finding interest in our surroundings, thus continuing long tradition in painting, aligning myself with the great ones that came before me like Gustave Courbet, Edgar Degas, or Camille Corot.

In the studio I either bring these paintings to a greater finish, them often being the base to larger versions, or I explore something else. Whilst painting outside opens you up to the world, I find the calm and loneliness of my atelier favourable to looking inward. I have emotions, psychology traits and visions I want to tap into. This part of my work takes substance in portraits and works based on master-studies, investigating an inner geography that is important to acknowledge, even though it can be troubling and dark. I am these days particularly interested in psychology and visual manifestation of traumas and illness. 
I am humble enough to see that I understand only a fraction of the human experience, so I would rather challenge the viewer in wondering what he is seeing, or what I wanted to say, rather than just telling how it is.

As a realist painter, I feel a keenship to artists going back to the early renaissance, from Piero ella Francesca and Ucello, to Rubens, Ter Bosch, Dürer, Caravaggio, Velásquez and Vuillard and Degas.
I also try to learn as much as I can from living artists like Vincent Desiderio, Antonio López-García, Ruprecht Von Kaufmann, Liu Xiaodong or Phil Hale, and the late Lucian Freud to name only the most famous ones.
I also find inspiration and challenges from my peers, mainly through social networks like Instagram and Twitter, which gathers a lot of young and talented realist painters, thus allowing me to connect, talk and debate with fellow artists.

What I am doing now is taking what I know technically and spiritually to ask myself questions in the form of paintings. I don’t aim at producing pictures, but rather interrogations that happen to materialise as paintings.

My practice is an ongoing research, which products are images on paper and canvas.




    Solo show “La nuit, et un peu de jour”, Espace de la Fontaine aux Pélerins, Saint-Prix, France


    Collective exhibition, Galerie Documents 15, Paris

    Panique ! , Le Phare, Paris


    Collective exhibition, Galerie Documents 15, Paris


    Columbia Threadneedle Prize 2018, Mall Galleries, London

    Société des Peintres-Graveurs Français, Mairie du VIeme, Paris


    Accrochage de rentrée, Galerie Documents 15, Paris

    Regards Croisés, 16 juin - 29 juillet 2017. Galerie Documents 15, Paris

    Art Capital, invited by the Société des Artistes Français. Grand Palais, Paris


    Collective exhibition : Prix de Dessin Pierre David-Weill - Institut de France. Paris


    71ème exposition de la Société des Peintres-Graveurs Français, Mairie du VIème,           Paris.

    Collective exhibition : Prix de Dessin Pierre David-Weill - Institut de France.


2021    Albert Maignan painting prize, Fondation Taylor, Paris.

2018    Finalist, Columbia Threadneedle Prize 2018, London

2016    Pierre David-Weill  Drawing Prize - Institut de France. Paris

2014    Finalist, FAA Summer Contest, Florence Academy of Art, Florence

Contact :

︎ nicolassage
︎ nicolas.sage@gmail.com