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Eve Drewelowe
The Yodel of the Yucca



Acrylic on laminated cloth paper. Housed in a custom frame with all archival materials, outer dimensions measure 27 ¾ x 36 x 1 ½ inches. Image size is 27 x 18 ¾ inches. From her earliest memory, Eve Drewelowe wanted to be an artist, and she became the first student to receive a masters of fine arts from the University of Iowa. After graduation, she went with her new husband to Boulder, Colorado, where she soon found herself in the role of dean’s wife. Eventually that responsibility and its “chores” proved to be too restrictive. After a health crisis, Drewelowe had a self-described “reincarnation” in which she resolved to make a place for her creativity. Naturally effusive, she yet valued being alone, and her strong feelings for life were expressed in her exuberant paintings. Growing up on an Iowa farm, Drewelowe developed a love for the land from her “environmentalist” father, who died when she was eleven. Subsequently, The Dean of the Graduate School at Iowa served as a father-figure when he facilitated her entry into the graduate program in art. Seemingly skeptical, Carl Seashore secretly wanted the young woman to “establish a first in the history of art training across the nation,” as the artist would later reminisce. Drewelowe graduated in 1924, and she later was a benefactor of what became one of the nation’s leading college art programs. At college, Drewelowe met and married a political science student, Jacob van Ek. Accepting a teaching position at the University of Colorado, van Ek moved to Boulder with his bride, who pursued her interest by helping found the Boulder Artists’ Guild. In 1928-1929, they traveled around the world to twenty-three countries for thirteen months, during which Drewelowe filled seven sketchbooks. With her husband now a dean, she threw herself into remodeling their house, a domestically acceptable creative project. Balancing her art and her duties as a dean’s wife, Drewelowe felt increasing frustration, and her health began to suffer. In the catalogue of a 1988 retrospective, she gave voice to her desire for self-determination: “Housewife! What an odious word! First! Foremost! Always! My waking thought from an embryo was on my need to be an artist!” Traveling to New York for her second solo exhibition in 1940, she stopped at the Mayo Clinic, where she was diagnosed as having a gastric polyp. This experience led to a new dedication to her painting, a complete turnaround in which she called her “reincarnation.” Inspired by the Rocky Mountains, she painted animated landscapes that pulsated with energy -- as if still in motion from generative forces. With a rainbow palette, Drewelowe created visionary scenes by intensifying colors in lively, rippling patterns. “What really motivated me in my youth, in my growth, in maturity was my desire to captivate everything. I put on canvas an eagerness to possess the wonder of nature and beauty of color and line – to encompass everything, not to let anything escape.” As early as the 1940s, she bemoaned the encroachment of human development on wilderness, and some of her paintings reflect her concern with the increasing threat to nature. Her later art included a turn to abstraction, but she continued to speak out against the ill effects of progress. As an artist, Drewelowe particularly despaired over the pollution befouling the atmosphere: “We cry for the return of the lustrously vibrant happy colors of the beauteously carved and sculpted land. The silence that has disgraced the hills must be reversed, and the singing must be heard again.” Expedited and International Shipping is available; please contact us for an estimate.


  • Movement & Style
  • Condition
  • Dimensions

    H 27.75 in. x W 36 in. x D 1.5 in.

    H 70.49 cm x W 91.44 cm x D 3.81 cm

  • Gallery location
    Denver, CO
  • Reference number
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