A Modernist Drawn to Life at Drerup Art Gallery through Oct. 23

September 8th, 2010 by Adam


Plymouth, N.H.—More than 40 works on paper by Karl Drerup will be displayed through October 23 at the Plymouth State University art gallery that bears his name.

Drerup was the most renowned and collected enamel artist in America from the 1940s through the 1960s. His innate ability as a draftsman, the focus of this exhibition, serves as a foundation to all his work. The masterful drawings on display reflect both his talent and the rigors of his European education.

Karl Drerup: A Modernist Drawn to Life is the third exhibition in a series focusing on Drerup’s work.

Exhibitions of his paintings in 2005 and enamels in 2007 allowed visitors to explore Drerup’s subject matter, careful craftsmanship and rich iconography in different media.

PSU President Sara Jayne Steen says visitors to this new exhibition will be “enthralled by the keen observation, the richness of thought and sometimes humor and the authentic artistry on display.”

Academically trained in Europe, where drawing was a fundamental part of artistic study well into the twentieth century, Drerup exhibited works in the U.Ss, as a painter and ceramic artist. Drawing was his natural inclination from his youth, but after seeing the radiant enamel-on-metal pieces exhibited in the Ceramics National at New York’s Whitney Museum, Drerup taught himself the techniques that allowed him to become a master.

Drerup moved to Thornton, N.H. in 1945 at the behest of the director of the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen. The following year he began teaching in Plymouth where he founded the Department of Art at Plymouth Teachers College. By the time he retired from teaching in 1968 the department provided an academic major that included 10 instructors and 135 students.

Exhibition curator Jane L. Port says, “The art of Karl Drerup is characterized by an expressive yet economical line. Whether with pencil on paper, sketches on clay tiles and vases, oil on canvas or many-layered richly colored enamels, Drerup conjures imagery that is alive and connects directly with the viewer in the most universal human terms.”

Drerup’s works have been collected by individuals and institutions including Henry Fonda, Katherine Hepburn, the Metropolitan Museum and the Cleveland Art Institute, as well as places closer to home such as the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and the Currier Museum in Manchester. As a master artist, some of Drerup’s achievements are outlined on the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts Web site, nh.gov/nharts/grants/americanmastersnhlist.htm#paint.

Karl Drerup: A Modernist Drawn to Life continues Plymouth State University’s commitment to promote a major New Hampshire artist and recipient of New Hampshire’s Living Treasures award. The exhibition is sponsored in part by the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts.

Information about exhibitions at Plymouth State University is available online at plymouth.edu/gallery or by calling (603) 535-2614. Gallery hours are Gallery hours are Monday–Saturday, 10 am.-4 p.m.; Wednesday 10 a.m.-8 p.m. and by appointment. The gallery is closed most PSU holidays.

For general information about events at PSU, log on to ThisWeek@PSU. http://thisweek.blogs.plymouth.edu.