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WERNER DREWES - BAUHAUS ROOTS
September - December 2009
WERNER DREWES’ roots developed at the German Bauhaus in the 1920s under the tutelage of modern masters Lyonel Feininger, Johannes Itten, Wassily Kandinsky and Paul Klee. Regardless of medium or technique, Drewes was inspired by his heritage - expressionism, Bauhaus discipline, aesthetic inventiveness and personal intuition. From his beginnings, bold figuration, dramatic geometric forms, rhythmic abstractions and brilliant palettes combined to illustrate a personal vocabulary in his art.
In 1930, Drewes emigrated to the United States and displayed his early interests in architecture through a series of woodcuts and etchings of New York City constructions. However, the 1934 landmark portfolio of “It Can’t Happen Here’ - 10 dazzling woodcuts, the coverpage of which depicts a distorted swastika, brought abstract form to critical examination.. In 1936, he became a founding member (along with Josef Albers, Burgoyne Diller, David Smith, Vaclav Vytlacil and others) of the American Abstract Artists group, the revolutionary group of artists that played a pivotal role in the evolution of non-objective art in the United States.
Drewes’ academic career was a thread in his life, as 1920s student at the Bauhaus, to teacher for the Federal Arts Project and Columbia University in New York in 1930s, to teacher at the Moholy Nagy’s Institute of Design (the New Bauhaus) in Chicago in mid-1940s to Washington University in St.Louis until his retirement in l965.
The evidence of his vital and active creative career of sixty years is displayed in this showing of watercolors, drawings, collages, prints and paintings. We - and you! - can trace the progression of ideas through these works of art.
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