Werner Drewes, painter, printmaker, and teacher was born in Canig, Germany
in 1899. His father, a Lutheran Minister, expected him to channel his
artistic talents into a career as an architect, but Werner chose instead
the vagabond life an artist. After being drafted into the army and
serving his term in the front line in France, Werner was admitted to the
Bauhaus in 1921 where he studied under such artists as Klee, Ltten, and
Muche. Later, he traveled extensively through Italy and Spain to study
such masters as Tintoretto, Velasque, and El Greco. Werner survived by
selling prints as postcards and an occasional commissioned piece.
After marrying Margaret Schrobsdorff, a German nurse working in the
Azores, they continued to travel throughout South America, North
America, and Asia. Traveling was always an important source of
inspiration for his work.|
In 1930, Werner emigrated to New York City with his wife and two young sons with a third son being born in NYC. Germany, under Hitler, had become too restrictive an environment for an abstract artist. In New York City, despite the Depression, Werner joined other Bauhaus artist such as Mondrian and Feininger to make a living as an artist. This group became the core of the American Abstract Artists group. Werner taught at the Columbia University, worked on the design of the 1939 Worlds Fair building, and had shows at the Museum of Modern Art, the Kleeman Gallery, and elsewhere. In 1946 he accepted a tenured position at Washington University in St. Louis. With his sons grown, Werner's financial burdens were somewhat erased and he was able to be more creative and productive and further fine-tune his unique printmaking techniques and use of color. His wife too, was able to pursue her own art form of weaving and rug making until her death in 1959.
Werner remarried a jeweler and fellow professor from Washington University, Mary Louise Lischer. They moved to Point Pleasant in Bucks County, Pennsylvania to enjoy a rural retirement yet still be near the art hub of New York City. Still lifes and landscapes, many with an abstract overtone, depict this era of his life. Colors gained a brilliance and balance. However, long winters led them to move once again. This time to Reston, Virginia. Here he continued his teaching, showing, creating, and traveling into his 85th year. Arthritis forced a new form of artistic expression: cut-out collages to add to his still growing collection of oils and prints. The Rose Catalog of his prints was published and several videos were taped of him in action and discussing his ideas and methods. He continued to show at major galleries in Germany, Turkey, and in the United States. The Smithsonian held a special show attributing his 65 years as a printmaker at the Museum for American Artists. To the very end, he cut his multiple plate color woodcuts, rubbed his prints by hand with a stylus and added stylistic innovations.
Today, this acclaimed artist has works shown at most major museums throughout the United States and in Europe.
More than eighty, one-man shows in the United States, Europe, and South America
Paintings, prints, and watercolors are owned and displayed by many public collections
And many other universities and libraries, as well as museums in Frankfurt, Cologne, Hamburg, Karlsruhe, Stuttgart, Berlin, Paris, London, and Jerusalem