How did art in France represent itself after World War II? "Reconstruction" is mentioned often, but the term conceals the dark side of the times and only insufficiently touches on the catastrophe reflected in works of art. And yet these creations are often sincere testimonies to the liberation or the Holocaust; to misery and to bitterness, to doubt and to deep trauma. The author shows that a new form of freedom began to thrive where art had nothing left to respect. Automatism and various manifestations of expressiveness dominated artistic production after 1944: It consisted of excesses and outbreaks, opposed traditions and reacted to the "dirty years," as André Pieyre de Mandiargues has called them.