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Avery Galleries

Werner Drewes


Signed lower right: W. Drewes.

24 3/4 x 20 1/8 inches (62.9 x 51.1 cm)


A consummate modernist, Werner Drewes received his early training at the Bauhaus in Germany under Paul Klee, Oskar Schlemmer, and Wassily Kandinsky.  Drewes was particularly influenced by Kandinsky and the two became long-life friends. However in 1930, Drewes immigrated to the United States and began to participate in the vibrant art scene of New York City. Only a few years later, he played a key role in the formation of the group known as the American Abstract Artists, a collection of artists who were particularly devoted to promoting the growth and acceptance of non-objective art in the United States.

From his early days as a student to his mature career as an exhibiting artist, Drewes was fascinated by the formal possibilities of line and color.  Yet, he was not strictly a formalist either.Throughout his career he consistently explored the expressive potential of his art, moving freely between pure abstraction and figuration. Danger! exhibits his characteristic multi-planar abstract geometry as well as his unusual and complex orchestrations of color. The rhythmical arrangement of linear motifs is intersected by strong diagonals, which slice through the forms, creating a sense of fragmented planar space.

Though Drewes's work can appear analytical, he also possessed a more mystical side, believing along with Kandinsky that art could be a means of revealing the deeper philosophical issues of life. As he once said: "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 stars to stay in their orbit? What is it which creates joy and sorrow within us? . . . All these are problems belonging to the world we live in and which should concern the artist…”