Open Construction is a color woodcut created in 1977 by German born, American artist Werner Drewes. It is pencil signed, dated, and editioned 8/XX. It was printed by the artist on ivory laid paper and the reference is Rose 365. The image measures 16-1/4 x 11-1/8 inches.
In her book, Drewes: A Catalogue Raisonné of His Prints, Ingrid Rose wrote about Drewes’ woodcuts produced once he retired and moved to Virginia: During his teaching responsibilities in the mid-west, Drewes mainly produced woodcuts and concentrated on the development of color. That his work during those decades was no longer abstract is explained, in his own words, by the fact that he was looking for an alternative to teaching design and composition and that he experienced the popularity of Abstract Expressionism as a constraint from which he wanted to escape. A sense of not having thoroughly explored the possibilities of abstraction invaded Drewes in the early 1970s. Since moving to Reston, his work, with the exception of travel impressions and portraits, has been a determined exploration of abstract designs and color systems.
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.