The Shape of Freedom: International Abstraction after 1945

4. June – 25. Sep 2022

The exhibition examined the creative interplay between Abstract Expressionism and Art Informel in transatlantic exchange and dialogue, from the mid-1940s to the end of the Cold War.

Following World War II, painting went in completely new directions. A new generation of artists turned their backs on the styles of the interwar period: Instead of figurative representation or geometric abstraction, painters in the orbit of Abstract Expressionism in the US and Art Informel in Western Europe pursued a radically impulsive approach to form, color, and material. As an expression of individual freedom, the spontaneous painterly gesture gained symbolic significance. Large-scale color-field paintings created a meditative space for ruminating the fundamental questions of human existence.


The role of the artist, of course, has always been that of image-maker. Different times require different images. ... To my mind certain so-called abstraction is not abstraction at all. On the contrary, it is the realism of our time.

Adolph Gottlieb, 1947
The Shape of Freedom
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