The Shape of Freedom
International Abstraction after 1945
This book gives new insights into the flowering of radical abstraction after 1945, focussing on the creative interplay between painters in the wider orbit of Abstract Expressionism and Art Informel.
Following World War II, Western painting went in completely new directions. A young generation of artists turned their backs on the dominant 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 artistic gesture gained symbolic significance. Large-scale color-field compositions created a meditative space for ruminating the fundamental questions of human existence. The exhibition and catalogue examine the two sister movements against the background of a vibrant transatlantic exchange, from the 1940s through to the end of the Cold War. The lavishly illustrated volume brings together works by more than 50 artists, amongst them Alberto Burri, Jean Dubuffet, Helen Frankenthaler, K.O.Götz, Franz Kline, Lee Krasner, Georges Mathieu, Joan Mitchell, Ernst Wilhelm Nay, Barnett Newman, Jackson Pollock, Judit Reigl, Mark Rothko, Hedda Sterne, Clyfford Still, and Jack Tworkov.
Ortrud Westheider is director of the Museum Barberini in Potsdam, Germany.
Michael Philipp is chief curator of the Museum Barberini in Potsdam, Germany.
Daniel Zamani is curator at the Museum Barberini in Potsdam, Germany.