New Hampshire treasure honored again
By Heidi Masek firstname.lastname@example.org
• A fascinating life: Karl Drerup’s journey — escaping from a monastery in Germany to the Canary Islands with his Jewish wife, and going on to develop the art department for Plymouth Teachers College and receive the New Hampshire Living Treasure Award in 1989 — warrants an entire book. There are two opportunities to learn more about him and see his work this month.
McGowan Fine Art, 10 Hills Ave. in Concord, 225-2515, is joining Plymouth State University in recognizing this master with an exhibit of about 50 of Drerup’s drawings, paintings and enamels called “Karl Drerup: Masterworks 1937-1977.” His enamels are “timeless,” said Sarah Chaffee of McGowan. She said she sees influences of Cezanne or Matisse in Drerup’s work, “but I think when he came here he became sort of isolated for number of reasons,” she said. Drerup and his wife came to New York in 1937. He no longer had access to the European art community, and was trying to work his way back into fine craft while working in factories on decorative pieces. It was David Campbell of the New Hampshire League of Craftsmen who convinced Drerup to move to New Hampshire in 1946. He started teaching at Plymouth in 1948 and developed the art program over 20 years from being the sole instructor to having a faculty of 10.
Now called Plymouth State University, the school has a gallery named for Drerup (1904-2000). Its third installment of a series of Drerup exhibits, “The Enchanted Garden, Enamels by an American Master,” opens Aug. 15, with a reception from 4 to 6 p.m. Meanwhile, Drerup’s son Oliver has asked McGowan Fine Art to exhibit and sell his father’s work.
“There’s starting to be a real resurgence in the collecting of these sort of mid-century crafts,” Chaffee said. Drerup’s work is also being exhibited in Long Beach, Calif., in “Painting with Fire.”
Enamel is basically pigment that is adhered in glass onto metal. It’s challenging because of the way the metal can warp when heated, yet it was a craft Drerup could do in a small space with minimal equipment, Chaffee said. About 20 of Drerup’s enamels will be on display at McGowan between Tuesday, Aug. 7, and Friday, Aug. 31, with an opening reception Friday, Aug. 10, from 5 to 7 p.m. Portions of the proceeds will benefit the League of NH Craftsmen. The exhibit includes a richly colored harbor scene enameled on a panel, called “Blue Boats on the Ocean.” Drerup also used religious imagery in his work.
McGowan has collaborated with Plymouth in the past. Plymouth’s program will include gallery talks starting with “Remembering Friend and Father,” Aug. 17 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Draper and Maynard Building, on Main Street in Plymouth. Visit plymouth.edu/drerup to learn more about the artist.
• Art Concord is back: The effort of galleries and the Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce to host “gallery crawl” nights returns Friday, Aug. 10, from 5 to 8 p.m. Participants include Gallery 205, Mill Brook Gallery and Sculpture Garden, Franklin Pierce Law Center, The Gallery at 2 Pillsbury and McGowan Fine Art. See concordnhchamber.com/artconcord.htm. The next Art Concord will probably be in May of 2008. Organizers have a goal of offering three events annually.