A Finding Aid to the Werner Drewes Papers, 1838-2015, bulk 1890-1990, in the Archives of American Art
Digitized Content

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.drewwern
Creators:
Drewes, Werner, 1899-1985
Dates:
1838-2015
bulk 1890-1990
Languages:
English
Collection is in English and German.
English; German
Physical Description:
15.76 Linear feet
Repository:
The papers of painter, printmaker, designer, and teacher, Werner Drewes, measure 15.76 linear feet and date from 1838-2015, with the bulk of the material dating from the 1890s-1990s. The papers document Drewes' life and career through biographical and family material; correspondence with family members, artists, galleries, and art institutions and organizations; scattered teaching notes and writings including a diary; catalogs and inventories of artwork; three scrapbooks; printed material; 38 sketchbooks, loose sketches, and prints; and photographs of Drewes, his family, friends and colleagues, exhibitions, travels, and works of art. Also found are scattered papers of Drewes' second wife, Maria Drewes.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The papers of painter, printmaker, designer, and teacher, Werner Drewes, measure 15.76 linear feet and date from 1838-2015, with the bulk of the material dating from the 1890s-1990s. The papers document Drewes' life and career through biographical and family material; correspondence with family members, artists, galleries, and art institutions and organizations; scattered teaching notes and writings including a diary; catalogs and inventories of artwork; three scrapbooks; printed material; 38 sketchbooks, loose sketches, and prints; and photographs of Drewes, his family, friends and colleagues, exhibitions, travels, and works of art. Also found are scattered papers of Drewes' second wife, Maria Drewes.
Biographical material documents Drewes' family history through family trees and biographical notes made by family members, and also includes 3 of Drewes' passports, some student and military records, resumés, and a partial interview transcript.
Correspondence is with family members; artists including Ed Boccia, Thomas Eldred, T. Lux Feininger, Clark Fitzgerald, Wassily Kandinsky, Jean Helion, Gerhard Marcks, Arthur Osver, Karl Schrag, and Albert Urban; and galleries and art organizations and institutions such as Richard York Gallery, the Smithsonian Institution, and others. Correspondence also relates to the Drewes estate, as well as to loans, exhibitions and sales of artwork.
Notes and writings include a diary kept by Drewes between 1918-1920 in Europe, a "love letter" in verse form written by Drewes to his first wife, Margaret, some teaching notes and notes on design, and 2 essays about Drewes written by others.
Catalogs and inventory records provide comprehensive documentation of the artwork Drewes created over the course of his career. Entries include titles, assigned numbers, subjects, dimensions, media used, and sketches or photos of artwork.
Three scrapbooks provide scattered documentation of Drewes' life and career, and include clippings from the 1920s and 1930s, and a scrapbook created by Maria Drewes for her husband's memorial service.
Printed material includes event announcements and exhibition catalogs, as well as news clippings tracing Drewes' career from the 1920s to the 1980s.
Artwork consists of greeting cards made by Drewes, as well as 38 sketchbooks and numerous loose sketches in pencil, ink, watercolor, and crayon.
Photographic material includes vintage family photographs, prints, negatives, slide tranparencies, and 8 glass plate negatives, of Drewes, his family and friends, events including exhibitions and travels, and artwork.
Found in Maria Drewes' papers are correspondence, 17 diaries primarily documenting travels with Werner Drewes, two scrapbooks with designs for jewelry, and photos of family, friends and jewelry.

Arrangement
Arrangement
  • Series 1: Biographical Material, 1838-1980s (0.4 linear feet; Boxes 1, 16)
  • Series 2: Correspondence, 1878-2004 (1.2 linear feet; Boxes 1-2, 16)
  • Series 3: Notes and Writings, 1922-2002 (0.5 linear feet; Box 2)
  • Series 4: Catalogs and Inventory Records, circa 1919-circa 1980s (2.3 linear feet; Boxes 2-6)
  • Series 5: Scrapbooks, 1920s-1985 (3 folders; Box 5)
  • Series 6: Printed Material, 1897-2015 (1 linear feet; Boxes 5-6)
  • Series 7: Artwork and Sketchbooks, circa 1890s-2002 (3.67 linear feet; Boxes 6-9, 16-17)
  • Series 8: Photographic Material, circa 1890s-2000 (5.53 linear feet; Boxes 9-14, 17, MGP 2)
  • Series 9: Mary (Maria) Louise Lischer Drewes Papers, 1930s-1980s (1 linear foot; Box 15)
Many of the records were assigned color-coded alpha-numeric labels prior to donation. In series where these labeling systems predominate, material has been arranged according to those systems and all previously assigned labels are indicated in the Container Listing. Many folder titles are taken from the original labels. Glass plate negatives are housed separately and closed to researchers.
The collection is arranged as 9 series.

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Painter, printmaker and designer Werner Drewes (1899-1985) was born in Canig, Germany, and immigrated to the United States in 1930. A student of the Bauhaus, and a prolific artist and teacher, Drewes worked with many kinds of media and produced numerous woodcuts, etchings, oils, watercolors, drawings and collages over the course of his life.
Drewes served for two years on Germany's Western Front during World War 1, before studying at the Bauhaus, Weimar, from 1921-1922. He then traveled throughout Europe, Asia and North and South America with his wife Margaret before returning to Germany in 1927 and enrolling at the Bauhaus, Dessau. During his time there Drewes forged his artistic ideas from the radical influences of renowned architects and artists including Lyonel Feininger, Johannes Itten, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, and Oscar Schlemmer, and learned the Bauhaus teaching approach that would serve him throughout his career. In 1930 Drewes, Margaret, and their 2 young sons emigrated to the United States and settled in New York City where Drewes attended the Art Students League. From 1935-1936 he taught drawing and printmaking at the Brooklyn Museum School as an employee of the Works Progress Administration Federal Art Project (WPA FAP). In 1936 he became a founding member of American Abstract Artists and the following year joined the American Artists' Congress and became an American citizen. From 1937-1940 he taught painting and printmaking at Columbia University.
In the early 1940s Drewes taught at the Master Institute in Riverside Museum, New York City, and worked as a technical supervisor for the Graphic Art Division of the FAP. From 1944-1945 he worked at Stanley William Hayter's Atelier 17 improving his intaglio technique and then teaching design, printmaking and photography at Brooklyn College. In 1946 he taught design at the Institute of Design in Chicago before being appointed Professor of Design at the School of Fine Arts of Washington University in Saint Louis, where he continued to teach until his retirement in 1965.
Following Margaret's death in 1959, Drewes married jewelry designer and fellow professor of Washington University, Mary (Maria) Louise Lischer in 1960. On Drewes' retirement he and Maria moved to Pennsylvania where he continued to paint, focusing primarily on still lifes and landscapes. He moved to Washington in 1972 and published his American Indians portfolio, before finally setting in Reston, Virginia, where the Rose Catalog of his prints was published and where he lived as a working and exhibiting artist until his death in 1985.
In October 1984 a comprehensive retrospective, Sixty-Five Years of Printmaking, was held at the then named Smithsonian's National Museum of American Art. Drewes' work can be found in the collections of the Brooklyn Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Museum of Modern Art, National Gallery of Art, New York Public Library, Smithsonian American Art Museum, and the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Administration
Processing Information
The collection, including 0.8 linear feet of material previously loaned for microfilming on reels 1497-1498, was processed to a minimal level and a finding aid prepared by Stephanie Ashley in 2014, with funding provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art. The Archives of American Art has implemented minimal processing tactics when possible in order to increase information about and access to more of our collections.
Minimal processing included arrangement to the series, subseries, and folder levels. Generally, items within folders were simply verified with folder titles, but not arranged further. Folders within boxes may not be numbered. The collection was rehoused in archival containers and folders, but not all staples and paper clips were removed. Glass plate negatives were re-housed in 2015 with a grant provided by the Smithsonian Collections Care and Preservation Fund.
Existence and Location of Copies
Portions of the collection are availalbe on 35mm microfilm reels 1497-1498 at the Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan. Researchers should note that the arrangement of the material described in the container inventory does not reflect the arrangement of the collection on microfilm.
Author
Stephanie Ashley
Sponsor
Funding for the processing of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art. Glass plate negatives in this collection were digitized in 2019 with funding provided by the Smithsonian Women's Committee.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The Werner Drewes papers were donated in 2005 by Werner Drewes' sons Wolfram U. Drewes, Harald D. Drewes, and Bernard W. Drewes. 4 additional items were donated by Karen Seibert, Drewes granddaughter, in 2015. Some material had been previously loaned for microfilming in 1979, and was subsequently included in the 2005 gift.

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Access
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Washington, D.C. Research Center. Glass plate negatives are housed separately and closed to researchers.
Conditions Governing Use
The Werner Drewes papers are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.
Preferred Citation
Werner Drewes papers, 1838-2015, bulk 1890-1990. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Educators -- Virginia Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Transcripts Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Painters -- Virginia -- Reston Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art -- Study and teaching Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Designers -- Virginia Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Prints Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photographs Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sketchbooks Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Scrapbooks Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Diaries Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Printmakers -- Virginia -- Reston Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Interviews Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Greeting cards Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Smithsonian Institution Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Boccia, Edward, 1921-2012 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Drewes, Maria Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Eldred, Thomas Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Feininger, T. Lux Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Fitz-Gerald, Clark B. (Clark Battle), 1917-2004 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Hélion, Jean, 1904-1987 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Kandinsky, Wassily, 1866-1944 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Marcks, Gerhard Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Osver, Arthur, 1912-2006 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Schrag, Karl Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Urban, Albert Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Richard York Gallery Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Archives of American Art
750 9th Street, NW
Victor Building, Suite 2200
Washington, D.C. 20001
https://www.aaa.si.edu/services/questions
https://www.aaa.si.edu/