Werner Drewes (1899-1985) was born in Canig, Germany. In 1921, he was admitted into the Bauhaus where he studied under artists such as Klee and Muche. Drewes traveled throughout Italy and Spain studying the old masters, particularly Velasquez and El Greco, supporting himself by selling prints as postcards. His vagabond lifestyle took him to the Americas and Asia, where he was inspired the people and landscapes he met along the way. In 1930 he immigrated to the U.S. with his wife, Margaret Schrobsdorf, and his sons. From 1934 to 1936, Drewes taught at the Brooklyn Museum under the auspices of the WPA Federal Art Project. In 1936, he became an American citizen. Drewes joined other Bauhaus artists in New York to form the core of the American Abstract Artists group. He taught at Columbia University from 1937 to 1940, and served as director of graphic art for the WPA Federal Art Project in New York in 1940. In 1944 he studied printmaking at Stanley William Hayter’s famed Atelier 17.
Drewes was a tenured professor at Washington University in St. Louis, from 1946-to 1965. With his sons grown, Drewes’ time at Washington University in St. Louis was a very creative period, with his focus no longer split between his art and raising and financially supporting his family. After his wife’s passing in 1965, Drewes remarried a jeweler and fellow professor from Washington University, Mary Louise Lischer. Retirement led the couple to Bucks County, Pennsylvania where Drewes’ art focused on abstract landscapes and still lifes. Moving once more to escape the long winters, Virginia became Drewes’ final home, where he continued to create and teach until the age of 85. His paintings and prints have been shown at major museums throughout Europe and the United States.
Werner Drewes’ Farm with Figures (shown above) can be seen at our Georgetown gallery in Washington, D.C. It would make a fantastic addition to any early 20th century collection.