Image

Constant Nieuwenhuys-Après nous la liberté, 1949

Photographer

Unknown

Après nous la Liberté

1949
Cobra
139,5cm
x 107,0cm
linen
oil paint
Collection Tate Modern London, UK

CID

278

This work was painted in Amsterdam and its original title was ‘A Nous la Liberté'. In a letter to the curator of the Tate Modern, dated 6 February 1988 Constant recalled the ‘general mood' from which the painting emerged and explained why the title was later changed:

After the five years of the German Occupation, during which hardly any work of other painters was to be seen, the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam organised a large show of contemporary Dutch art, entitled ‘Kunst in vryheid' (Art in freedom).

According to Constant, "this exhibition was a deception by the lack of any creative freedom - the worst kind of academicism. Shortly after (in 1946) I met Asger Jorn in Paris, who appeared to be a kindred mind. Our friendship would lead, 2 years later, to the foundation of Cobra. The title of this painting was originally ‘A Nous la Liberté' opposing the false ‘freedom' of the above mentioned exhibition (and what followed after). A few years later, Cobra had fallen apart and many of its former members were classified in museums as ‘experimentals', forming a new ‘style' contradictory to the real aims of the movement - My disappointment about this development led me to change the title to ‘Après Nous la Liberté'. I changed the title to express my doubts about the possibility of ‘free art' in an unfree society, and, at the same time, my hopes for the freedom all men are longing for." *
 

*https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/constant-after-us-liberty-t03705

    English title

    After Us, Freedom

    Alternate titles

    À nous la Liberté
    1949 Archive entry
    Nach uns die Freiheit
    1961

    Signed/dated

    Signed and dated Constant '49, center left of center in white paint

    Provenance

    1949 Constant
    1961 Collection Otto van der Loo, München, DE
    1983 Collection Tate Modern London, UK [donation Otto van de Loo, München, DE]
    Tags
    Animal
    Figures
    Ladder

    Frame dimensions

    unknown

    No other related bibliography items available

    No other related bibliography items available