Tack's mystical and transcendental vision reached its culmination in a cycle of twelve lunette-shaped paintings, including Liberation, which he created between 1928 and 1931 for the Music Room of the museum.
Tack's endeavors as a muralist and decorator, launched in 1900 and culminating in his murals for the Nebraska State Capitol in 1928, encouraged him to develop a muralist's conception of painting in which compositions unfold through architectural space, encompass lofty themes, and possess a monumental scale. With their arched lunettes and gilded architectural borders, these paintings represent the final flowering of the Beaux-Arts tradition of the American Renaissance. However, Tack's abstracted and fragmented forms, and his use of the Western landscape, represent a striking departure from traditional symbolism and treatment.
The titles, such as Liberation, outline a complex interrelated program, and each work has its place within the visual and thematic scheme of the room. As in other works that were intended as lunettes for one of the end walls, Liberation transcends metaphysical boundaries. Liberation can be seen as Tack's culminating statement on the attainment of spiritual fulfillment. Freedom is attained through the renunciation of materialism and the search for moral and mental betterment in order to transcend the material world and rise toward God. The Western panorama—its grandeur, ascendancy, and vast open space—has been transformed to suggest flight to a higher realm. While the more figurative paintings were derived from Tack’s earlier work, Liberation is one of the paintings in the series that was inspired by photographs of rocky desert landscapes.
Liberation, which depicts ragged cloud forms, dizzying panoramas of cliffs, and wave patterns, suggests vast spaces and elemental forces. The painting, along with the rest of the series, is the true descendent of Tack's romantic early landscapes. The pouncing, laid on with a spiked wheel to transfer outlines, functions as an assertive part of the design and is left bare in many areas. The painting has a slightly dry, formulaic appearance befitting its function as a prototype. Tack’s fascination with patterns of light and shadow made by the sun falling irregularly on the land is evident in Liberations, clearly revealing the painting’s origins in photography.
In these works Tack approached ever more closely an abstracted, universalized, vision of life with, in Phillips’s words, “the mystic’s sense of an all pervading God… seeking to create Cosmos out of Chaos.” Although never permanently installed as both artist and patron originally intended, the panels are often hung together in the room for which they were created.