Werner Drewes Biography

Werner Drewes




Werner Drewes, painter, printmaker, and educator, was born in Canig, Germany on 27 July 1899. During World War I, he volunteered for the German army and served in France. In 1919, he enrolled in the Technische Hochschule in Berlin-Charlottenburg where he studied architecture and design. Between 1920 and 1921, he was enrolled at the Stuttgart School of Architecture and the Stuttgart School of Arts and Crafts. He then attended the Staatliches Bauhaus Weimar where he studied under Paul Klee, Oskar Schlemmer, and Johannes Itten. In 1927 he enrolled at the Staatliches Bauhaus Dessau where he studied under Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky, and Laszlo Moholy-Nagy.

Drewes emigrated to United States in 1930, settling in New York City. During the Depression he taught drawing and printmaking at the School of the Brooklyn Museum under the Federal Arts Project. In 1936, Werner Drewes became a citizen of the United States and he joined the American Artists Congress and co-founded the American Abstract Artists group. Between 1940 and 1941, he was Director of Graphic Arts for the Federal Arts Project in New York. In 1944, Drewes began working at Atelier 17 and the following year was included in the Tenth Exhibition of Prints by Thirty-five Members of Atelier 17 Group at the Willard Gallery in New York. During World War II, Drewes worked at Fairchild Industries as an aerial map maker.

Drewes had a long career as an educator and taught at Brooklyn College, the School of Architecture at Columbia University, the Institute of Design in Chicago, and was a tenured professor at Washington University in St. Louis.

Drewes is represented in the collections of the Addison Gallery of American Art, Philips Academy, Andover; the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas; the Brooklyn Museum, New York; the Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois; the Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio; the Kirkland Museum, Denver; the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth; the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Philadelphia Museum of Art; the Kemper Art Museum and the Saint Louis Art Museum, Missouri; the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco; the Georgetown University Library, the Library of Congress, the National Gallery of Art, and the Smithsonian Museum of American Art, Washington, D.C.

Werner Drewes died in Reston, Virginia on 21 June 1985.