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Secret Spring, 1949, Oil on Canvas, 34 x 27, Signed
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Curator's Comments: Drewes (1899-1985) 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. He was always more concerned with form as opposed
to line. His
' 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.  Drewes retired 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, and  the Smithsonian. 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
"Catskill Waterfall" uses
Kandinsky to show Natural Form
As Framed