American Masterpieces from Dryads Green Gallery
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Artist Name:       Werner Drewes
Artist Dates:         1899-1985     
Secret Spring
Painting Date:       1949
Medium:               Oil on Canvas      
Signed Lower Right
Private Collection
Condition:             Excellent      
Size Unframed:  
   27 x 34  
Frame Condition:   Mint Reproduction
Artist Best Price:   $74,500
Offered At:            CALL
Curator's Comments: Drewes went from
the geometry of his first major teacher Klee
and later in the U.S. his colleague Mondrian to
the abstraction of his master and friend
Kandinsky. But he was always more concerned
with form as opposed to line. And in the U.S.,
particularly in North Carolina and Bucks
County, landscape commanded much of his
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Drewes' deep interest in natural forms and passion for
archaeology fused. He painted neolithic "Carnac" in France and
his rendition of Maine's "Monhegan Cliffs" virtually puts them
in a Tolkien mythic universe. We prefer his mid-to-late period
works focused on nature and rendered in what some have called
expressionistic figuralism. We see these works as the early
modern reshaping of the landscape tradition. "Secret Spring,"
which we discussed with the artist's grand-daughter after our
acquisition, shows how natural conflict arises from the water
cycle and generates mythic forms in purple trees and green
spathes and golden blossoms that emphasize nature's endless
creative power. As Drewes asked in a 1936 exhibition catalogue:
"What is the mystery underlying the Architecture of our
Universe? What are the laws which create the pattern of the
frost which forms on our windows? What causes the ... sunlight
or the growth of a tree....To create new universes within these
laws and to fill them with the experiences of our life is our task
....When they convincingly reflect the wisdom or struggle of the
soul, a work of art is born."

Drewes, who pronounced his name Dray-wes, was born in Canig,
Germany and served in WWI, which determined him to escape
his father's Lutheran Ministry in favor of an artistic career,
with early study in 1921 in classes with Paul Klee, and Oskar
Schlemmer. Unsettled yet as an artist, in 1923 Drewes began
several years of world travel, initially to Italy and Spain, where
he studied Veronese, Tintoretto, Velazquez, and El Greco. After
marrying Margaret Schrobsdorf, a German nurse working in  
Italy the couple continued to travel throughout Latin America
(he had exhibitions in Buenos Aires and Montevideo), the
United States, the Orient, and finally, via the trans-Siberia
railroad, through Manchuria, Moscow, and Warsaw, and back to
Germany. In 1927 Drewes returned to the Bauhaus, which had
moved from Weimar to Dessau and resumed his studies with
Klee and Schlemmer. He attended Kandinsky's weekly painting
classes and became close friends with Feininger, Moholy-Nagy,
and Josef Albers. But he left the following year, seeing what the
Nazi prersecution of "degenerate art" would lead to. (Hitler
closed the Bauhaus in 1933.) In 1930, Drewes settled in New
York. Kandinsky provided an introduction to Katherine Dreier,
an abstract artist and founder of the Societe Anonyme, who
immediately began to include Drewes's work in the group's
exhibitions. Drewes taught at Columbia University, worked on
the design of the 1939 Worlds Fair building, and had shows at
the Museum of Modern Art. His reputation continued to grow,
and in 1946 he became Professor of Design at Washington
University in St. Louis. This tenured post afforded Drewes more
financial stability and as result he was able to further explore
and fine-tune his unique interpretation of the Bauhaus
aesthetic spirit. Drewes retired from Washington University in
1965, the year of his wife's death, and remarried a fellow
professor from Washington University, Mary Louise Lischer.
They moved to Point Pleasant in Bucks County,and after ten
years, moved to 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 more
than 80 exhibits at major galleries. His work is in MOMA, the
Metropolitan, the Smithsonian, and many other museums.
There is no question that Drewes prices are escalating.
Magnificent Early Modern Mythic Forms by Drewes
Drewes ca. 1960
Red Farm brought $43,200 in 2010
 Drewes' "Catskill Waterfall" uses
Kandinsky to emphasize Natural Form
Drewes in Self-Portrait