In this room, what seems like a mad cacophony of different styles resolves into something much more harmonious. Works of art from different ends of a heated debate speak to each other in unexpected ways. Curator Chris Stephens
The modern was a highly contested area, as artists emerged from the shadows of the Second World War and struggled to find an appropriate artistic language for the time.
The 1950s saw debates about the way forward for modern art, whether abstraction or realism. Social realists depicted everyday life with a political agenda, while Lucian Freud painted an apparently highly realistic form of figuration, but with a slightly sinister awkwardness that reflected his depth in the surrealist tradition.