Platt Fine Art Presents:

Werner Drewes (1899-1985): Paintings, Woodcuts and Collages

Opening Reception:
Friday, December 03, 2004
5pm - 8pm

On View at the Gallery:
Dec. 03 - Jan. 31, 2005

Gallery Hours:
Monday - Sunday
10am - 8pm

 


It is with great pleasure that we present our first major exhibition of works by Werner Drewes.

 

Apparition
woodcut 1945

Since his death in 1985, recognition of Drewes' important role and impact on 20th century American art has steadily grown among collectors and curators. A student at the Bauhaus during the 1920s, Drewes, along with Lyonel Feininger and Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, was one of the first artists to convey the groundbreaking concepts of that school to the United States via his painting, printmaking and teaching.

The son of a conservative Lutheran Minister, Drewes was born in Canig, Germany in 1899. After being drafted into the army and serving two years as a soldier on the Western Front, Drewes was admitted to the Bauhaus (Wiemer) in 1921 where he studied under Klee, Itten and Muche. From 1923 to 1927 he traveled extensively throughout Europe, North America and Asia, obtaining the occasional art commission in order to support his journey. Upon his return to Germany in 1927 he was readmitted to the Bauhaus in its new location in Dessau, where he enrolled in classes with the artists Moholy-Nagy (graphics) and Kandinsky (painting).

By 1930, as political pressure on artists became increasingly intolerable, especially for those artists dedicated to abstract art (Hitler closed the Bauhaus in 1933), Drewes left Germany and emigrated to New York City. Despite the Depression, Drewes flourished in his new environment. He taught printmaking at the Brooklyn Museum under the Federal Art Project,  lectured at Hayter's Atelier 17 and was an instructor in painting, drawing and printmaking at Columbia University. In 1937 he was a founding member of the American Abstract Artists group, the first formal organization in the United States devoted to the creation of non-objective art.

Collage #304 
1977

 

Drewes' reputation continued to grow, and in 1946 he accepted the position of Professor of Design at Washington University in St. Louis. This tenured post afforded Drewes more financial stabilitys and as result he was able to further explore and fine- tune his unique interpretations of the Bauhaus' aesthetic spirit. It was during this time he met, and became good friends with Max Beckman who was also on the teaching staff at the University.

Drewes retired from Washington University in 1965, eventually settling in Reston, Virginia, where he remained active until his death in 1985. Drewes enjoyed a large amount of recognition for his work in these later years including exhibits at major galleries in Germany and Turkey, and a retrospective devoted entirely to his printmaking held at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American Art in 1984.

For our current show we have selected a good number of oils and works on paper ranging in date from 1945 to 1984. We are indebted to the granddaughter of the artist, Karen Siebert, for her numerous contributions to the exhibition. Without her aid and generous support this event would not be possible.

Alan Platt
Platt Fine Art

Click here to view works by Werner Drewes

Exhibition archive:
Works by Werner Drewes: A Bauhaus artist in America
Harold Weston (American, 1984-1972): Paintings & Works on Paper by an American Modernist
Arminn Landeck: Master Printmaker
Phil Epp: Recent Paintings
The Paintings of Carl Flick (1904-1976): An Aman Artist Transformed by Grant Wood
G. Ralph Smith and Harry Brodsky: Works from the 1930s and 1940s
Edwin Fulwider: Selections from the Estate
William Dickerson: Paintings and Watercolors by a Kansas Regionalist
Harold Weston: Paintings and Works on Paper by an American Modernist
Werner Drewes (1899-1985): Paintings, Woodcuts and Collages
James C. Magee (1864-1924): A Rediscovered American Impressionist
Images of New York: A Photographic Journey with Lee Sievan (1907-1990)
Two Chicago Printmakers: Catherine Cajandig and Hiroshi Ariyama
Max Arthur Cohn - Screenprint Pioneer and Painter of the American Scene