The years immediately following 1945, until the founding of the FRG and the GDR, were a time of transition for social life and politics in Germany, but also for art. A new order slowly developed to replace the National Socialist regime. The artist Alex Lex-Nerlinger described the atmosphere of this phase in the following words: “We stand between two epochs, an old one, which doesn’t want to die, and a young democratic one, whose coming into being has already repeatedly heralded itself.” Seventy years after the end of the World War II, the exhibition and catalogue Befreite Moderne dedicates itself to a chapter of Modern Art that is still worthy of discovery.
If, before 1933, Willi Baumeister and Fritz Winter, for instance, were already established in the network of Modernism made up of gallerists, critics, museums and the media, artists like Werner Gilles, who
belonged to what is known as the second generation, came to public attention at the end of the dictatorship. They sought to continue and reanimate the legacy of their predecessors through a remarkable joy in experimentation and a consensual coexistence of objective and Surrealistic tendencies, as well as different variations of abstraction.