David Norman was for more than 30 years a senior specialist at Sotheby's in Impressionist and Modern art. Here he discusses the growth of the market for German Expressionism and the shift in collector base from Europe to the US and then back to a new group of collectors in Europe.
Currently on view at the Fondation Beyeler is an exhibition entitled, Kandinsky, Marc & Der Blaue Reiter (until January 22, 2017). The show features the brilliantly chromatic and radically re-imagined compositions of a group of artists working in Munich just before the First World War. The introduction on the Beyeler website refers to this group, The Blue Rider, as representing "...a key aspect of the development of modern art." This declaration of the art historical import of this movement, to which one can add that of Die Brucke and German Expressionism, took me back 25 years to the burgeoning recognition of this work in the international art market.
On the evening of May 30th, 1991, two colleagues of mine at Sotheby’s and I staged the first international auction to be held in the newly unified city of Berlin. The sale took place in the glorious Palais am Festungsgraben, an 18th century palace situated along the famed boulevard, Unter der Linden.
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