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  • The Shape of Freedom: Post-war abstraction at Museum Barberini


The Shape of Freedom: Post-war abstraction at Museum Barberini

A new exhibition in Potsdam presents 20th-century abstraction from both sides of the Atlantic.

Sam Francis My Shell Angel, 1986. © Sam Francis Foundation, California/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2022 Image: Lutz Bertram

Radically impulsive, grand gestures, rich colours: new exhibition The Shape of Freedom at Museum Barberini presents icons and hitherto rarely seen works of international abstract painting after 1945, including Jackson Pollock’s famous ‘Drip Paintings’ and works by his contemporaries such as Sam Francis, Mark Rothko and Helen Frankenthaler.

The Potsdam exhibition juxtaposes the greats of Abstract Expressionism in the USA with works by the stars of European Informel: Jean Debuffet, K.O. Götz and Natalia Dumitresco. Previously considered primarily as two independent movements, curator Daniel Zamani highlights these developments of new, radical artistic expression as a transatlantic dialogue. The show also explicitly highlights the influence of female artists on both continents.

The over thirty international lenders include the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Tate in London, the Museo nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza in Madrid, the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, the Museum Frieder Burda in Baden-Baden, and the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice.

Wols (Alfred Otto Wolfgang Schulze) Composition Champigny, ca. 1951. MKM Museum Küppersmühle für moderne Kunst, Duisburg, Sammlung Ströher
Morris Louis Saf Heh, 1959. © All Rights Reserved. Maryland Institute College of Art/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2022
Jackson Pollock Composition No. 16, 1948. Museum Frieder Burda, Baden-Baden © Pollock-Krasner Foundation / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2022
Exhibition view “The Shape of Freedom. International Abstraction after 1945“ © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2022, Image: David von Becker