The Old Print Shop

Werner Drewes


Werner Drewes, painter, printmaker, educator and lecturer, was born in Canig, Germany on July 27, 1899. After serving in World War I on the Western Front, Drewes attended the Bauhaus in 1921 where he studied under Paul Klee and Johannes Itten. In the 1920s he visited the United States, living in St. Louis for a year before returning to Berlin. After extensive travel in the United States and Europe he returned to study under Wassily Kandinsky and Laszlo Moholy-Nagy at the Bauhaus.  With the onset of the Second World War, Drewes immigrated to New York. Despite the Depression he flourished as both artist and teacher under the Federal Art Project. In 1944 he began working at Atelier 17 in New York, exhibiting in the 1945 exhibition at the Willard Gallery, featuring thirty-five members of Atelier 17, and the MOMA exhibition of August 1944.

He taught printmaking at the Brooklyn Museum, painting, drawing and printmaking at Columbia University and he lectured at Atelier 17. Drewes was a co-founder of the American Abstract Artists group. He became a tenured professor at Washington University in St. Louis, retiring in 1965. After moving to Reston, Virginia in 1972, Drewes continued to exhibit nationally and internationally. A major retrospective of his prints was mounted at the National Museum of American Art in 1984. Werner Drewes died in Reston, Virginia on June 21, 1985.