Lynne Mapp Drexler American, 1928-1999


A New York and Maine artist associated with the second generation of American Abstract Expressionist Artists who emerged in the 1950’s and who numbered Larry Rivers, Robert Rauschenberg, Joni Mitchell, Jasper Johns, Robert Goodnough, and Grace Hartigan, Lynne Mapp Drexler is drawing renewed interest in her post-abstract modernist works. Trained by the iconic colorist Hans Hofmann and his teachings that color determined composition as well as by Robert Motherwell who greatly influenced her work, Drexler has created in our Summer Blossoms, one of her colorful painterly canvases. Inspired by classical music and opera, Drexler painted with a flatness in her backgrounds that are reminiscent of her needlework and embroidery. After her marriage and her move to the remote Monhegan Island off the coast of Maine, Drexler had the opportunity to work and to sketch out of doors. These “summer sketches” were re-imagined during the winter months into colorful and luxurious abstracted landscapes as in our example.  Drexler’s affinity for nature became intimately intertwined into her work. These works focus exclusively on color and composition, a unique abstraction that sets her apart from her contemporaries.


Lynne Mapp Drexler was born in Newport News, Virginia in 1928. Drexler began her study of art as a child, painting landscapes by the tender age of eight. In the late 1950s, after attending the College of William and Mary in Virginia, she immersed herself in Abstract Expressionism, studying with Hans Hofmann in both his New York and Provincetown schools. From there she went on to graduate study at Hunter College in New York City with Robert Motherwell. In the early works Drexler focused on color and composition, eventually reconciling her two interests—landscape and abstraction—in her late work of the 1980s and ‘90s.

But it was in the 1950s that she set her foundation—a synthesis of Post-Impressionist landscape painting and post-war painterly abstraction. The results are something not familiar to most students of the period and her crisp, colorful brushwork allows the artist to sing with a completely original voice. Classical music remained an important part of her art. When she lived in New York she regularly attended concerts at Carnegie Hall where she would make sketches while she was in the audience. Her vibrant surfaces are both complex and painterly but with a flatness akin to something found in the background of a Gustav Klimt work. Drexler lived the last 16 years of her life on Monhegan Island with her husband, the painter John Hultberg.  She passed away in 1999.

Drexler exhibited extensively throughout her life at venues such as Tanager Gallery, Esther Robles Gallery and Westerly Gallery. She is slated for upcoming shows at the Monhegan Museum and the Portland Museum of Art in Maine. Her work is part of the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, Monhegan Museum, Farnsworth Museum, Brooklyn Museum and the Queens Museum among others.

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