Movement, Vision, and Form: Werner Drewes Abstractions 1970-1985 at Debra Force Fine Art

Published on

Debra Force Fine Art is pleased to present Movement, Vision, and Form: Werner Drewes Abstractions from 1970-1985.  The exhibition focuses on Drewes’ late paintings and collages, which through the years, have been virtually neglected unlike his graphic work from this period or his earlier paintings from the 1930s and 1940s.

Werner Drewes (1899-1985), Destroyed Tranquility, 1972, oil on canvas, 35 ⅞ x 40 in.
Werner Drewes (1899-1985), Destroyed Tranquility, 1972, oil on canvas, 35 ⅞ x 40 in.

Werner Drewes (1899-1985) was born in eastern Germany and pursued his education at the Bauhaus in the 1920s.  The avant-garde art and design teachings of Walter Gropius, Paul Klee, Lyonel Feininger, Josef Albers, and most importantly, Wassily Kandinsky proved critical to the evolution of Drewes’ work in abstraction. 

The artist immigrated to the United States in 1930, supporting his family through his printmaking and teaching. He exhibited regularly in the 1930s and 1940s, becoming a founding member of the American Abstract Artists alongside Albert Gallatin, George L.K. Morris, and Charles Green Shaw. After retiring from the School of Fine Arts at Washington University in St. Louis in 1965, he moved to Reston, Virginia, where he was able to focus fully on his paintings, collages, and prints. In the final years of his life, he vigorously explored the creative and emotional impact of abstraction.

Featuring twenty oils along with over twenty small collages and a selection of prints, the exhibition focuses on the artist’s process of using small paintings and collages as color and composition studies for larger, more substantial oils. For Drewes, painting and printmaking were also closely aligned and at times, he would alternate between media, utilizing variations on a single theme or color palette.

Adhering to principles espoused by his Bauhaus colleagues, yet informed by his playful and intuitive approach to making art, the late oeuvre of Werner Drewes represents the culmination his life’s work. The cacophonous palette and exuberant compositions of the works in the exhibition readdress this important period in the artist’s career, which he considered his strongest.

Movement, Vision, and Form: Werner Drewes Abstractions from 1970-1985 is on view through June 1, 2020. Please view the exhibition online ( along with a digital copy of the accompanying catalogue. Copies of the checklist and catalogue can also be sent via email or mail by contacting the gallery at [email protected] or 212-734-3636.

More in the auction industry