Souren Melikian finds a thread running through contemporary culture that is also expressed in the heart of the auction market: a taste for Expressionism:
This week, Christie’s and Sotheby’s were holding their mid-spring sales of “Impressionist and Modern art.” But of Impressionism there was no trace on the catalog covers. Christie’s ran the detail of an early painting by Edvard Munch who would later become a leading Expressionist and Sotheby’s reproduced a Matisse still life retaining a faint whiff of the master’s Fauve period. Neither work is about nuances. Expressiveness is their common denominator, and expressiveness is what buyers now run after. […]
That search for expressiveness is the fundamental reason accounting for the extraordinary rise of the one-day cartoon-like portraits that Picasso, full of contempt for the bourgeois establishment, dashed off in a derisive mood. In 1932, the Paris school master developed a very specific style characterized by broad curving outlines and a resurgence of the Fauve colors of the early 1900s. He spiced it with discreet touches of Surrealism.
The Winning Card at Auction: Expressiveness (New York Times)