Composition 132, in Grey with Vertical Axis, 1936
Oil on canvas, 32 x 25 inches
Monogrammed lower right and dated ‘36
Signed, titled and monogrammed on the reverse
The Art Institute of Chicago, American Paintings & Sculptures, Forty-Ninth Annual Exhibition; Springfield Museum of Art, Springfield, Ohio, n.d.
Born in Germany, Werner Drewes studied at The Bauhaus with Kandinsky and Klee before immigrating to America in 1930. Influential in introducing the principles of The Bauhaus to this country, Drewes was a distinguished painter, printmaker, and teacher and a founder of American Abstract Artists, exhibiting his work at The Museum of Modern Art, The Whitney Museum, and The Art Institute of Chicago.
While the subdued coloration and active surface of Composition 132 relate to the first generation of European abstract painting, the artist’s evolving vocabulary of personal imagery can be seen in his use of shifting rectilinear shapes. Subtle touches of yellow, green, and blue enliven the surface to convey the optimistic mood characteristic of Drewes’ work.