Lynne Mapp Drexler

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Lynne Mapp Drexler
Born (1928-05-21)May 21, 1928[1]
Newport News, Virginia
Died December 30, 1999(1999-12-30) (aged 71)[1]
Monhegan Island, Maine
Resting place Monhegan Cemetery, Monhegan Island, Maine[1][2]
Nationality American
Education Robert Motherwell, Hans Hofmann
Alma mater College of William and Mary
Known for Painter
Movement Abstract, Representational
Spouse(s) John Hultberg

Lynne Mapp Drexler (1928–1999) was an American abstract and representational artist, who was a painter and photographer.

Early life and education[edit]

Lynne Drexler was born and raised in the Newport News, Virginia area.[3] Her parents were Lynne P. and Norman E. Drexler, who was a manager at a public utility. At the age of 11 she was an only child and had been living in Raleigh Terrace, Elizabeth City (now Hampton), Virginia.[4][5] She began painting as a child. Later, Drexler took art classes in Virginia at the Richmond Professional Institute and at the College of William and Mary.[6]

She moved to New York City in the mid to late 1950s to further her study art under Robert Motherwell at Hunter College and Hans Hofmann, under their tutelage she developed an interest in Abstract Expressionism.[7] Motherwell taught her composition and draftsmanship techniques and the philosophy "that to be an artist meant first and foremost that one had to create work worthy of attention". Her tendency to create vibrant paintings using a free brush stroke was influenced by Hofman and the work of Henri Matisse.[7][8] Hofman also introduced the notion that composition is influenced by color, which he called the "push-pull" concept.[6]


Cosmopolitan life[edit]

In the late 1950s she was an abstract expressionist and was "counted among an important group of women artists whose figural and landscape works were often overlooked during the heyday of post-abstract expressionist modernism – artists such as Jane Freilicher, Lois Dodd, and Jane Wilson."[6]

She was a devotee of classical music, attending up to 3 opera performances each week, and would often go to opera and symphony performances with a sketchpad and colored crayons in hand to make sketches inspired by the music.[6][7] Drexler's Pattern and Decoration embroidery and patchwork influenced some of her later works, similar designs often appeared in her painting's backgrounds.[6]

In 1961 Drexler met fellow artist John Hultberg at The Artist's Club in New York. Artists there discussed abstract expressionism and it was there she met accomplished artists. Through their connections she had her first solo exhibition of 11 works at Tanager Gallery.[6] Drexler and Hultberg were married and for three years traveled and lived in Mexico, the West Coast and Hawaii.[6][7] They then lived at New York's Chelsea Hotel in the late 1960s.[6][9] For six months, Drexler had a case of colorblindness and developed a severe case of depression.[6]

Monhegan Island[edit]

Living on Monhegan Island

I came to believe in myself and my own inner resourcefulness. Living here revealed a strength and depth in me I didn't know I had. Recognition, fame, and applause became trappings that were no longer important, and I opted out of a competitive situation that had nothing to do with what I was trying for in my art. When you live here you learn to see who you really are. You are very close to nature, and nature clarifies you to yourself. At night I feel a sense of awe in the way the black ocean stretches out to meet the black sky, and I'm aware of what it means to live in a universe. Everything here is reduced to essentials. I've forgotten how to act on shore. On shore is the false reality. Here, is the true reality.

Lynn Drexler[10]

Seeking a relaxing environment, the couple bought a house off the coast of Maine on Monhegan Island in 1971 and split their time between New York City and Maine,[6] particularly spending the summers at their island house.[3][nb 1]

By 1983, Drexler moved year-around and permanently near Lighthouse Hill on Monhegan Island, an artists' haven off the coast of Maine, where she had spent most summers since 1963. The island people and landscape were the subject of many of her paintings from that time.[3][8] Drexler's paintings became less strictly abstract and exhibited a synthesis of abstract and representational influences.[8]

Drexler died December 30, 1999, living two years longer than expected battling cancer.[8]

Posthumous exhibitions[edit]

After she died, her work was exhibited at a number of galleries, including the Anita Shapolsky Gallery in New York City, and the Jameson Estate Collection in Portland, Maine.[11] The first comprehensive exhibit of her work – showcasing over fifty paintings, photographic images and textiles – ran at the Monhegan Museum in August and September 2008. It then ran at the Portland Museum of Art from December 6, 2008 through March 1, 2009. The exhibition was organized by the Monhegan Historical and Cultural Museum Association.[3][7] In 2010 her works were shown at the Portland Museum in 2010 until March 1[8] and from April 17 to June 5 at the McCormick Gallery in Chicago.[12]


Her works are in the collections of:[6]

The National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois

The Provincetown Art Association and Museum, Provincetown, Massachusetts

Queens Museum, Queens, New York

Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, New York

Bates College, Lewiston, Maine


  1. ^ The Portland Museum says that Hultberg's dealer Martha Jackson bought a house on Monhegan Island for the couple in the early 1960s.[7]


  1. ^ a b c Lynne D. Hultberg. Social Security Death Index, Master File. Social Security Administration.
  2. ^ Lynne Drexler. Find a Grave. Retrieved February 2, 2014.
  3. ^ a b c d “Lynne Drexler: Painter” at the Monhegan Museum. Retrieved on February 2, 2014.
  4. ^ 1930 Census for Wythe, Elizabeth City, Virginia; Roll: 2442; Page: 30B; Enumeration District: 0019; Image: 381.0; FHL microfilm: 2342176. United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Fifteenth Census of the United States, 1930. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration.
  5. ^ Year: 1940; Census Place: Raleigh Terrace, Elizabeth City, Virginia; Roll: T627_4259; Page: 19A; Enumeration District: 28-22. United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Sixteenth Census of the United States, 1940. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Lynne Drexler biography. Spanierman Modern. Retrieved February 2, 2014.
  7. ^ a b c d e f Paintings by Maine artist Lynne Drexler on view at the Portland Museum of Art. August 1, 2008. Retrieved on February 2, 2014.
  8. ^ a b c d e Lynne Drexler: Her light and times | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram. (March 13, 2010). Retrieved on 2014-02-02.
  9. ^ Travel New York City – Illustrated Guide and Maps. MobileReference; 2006. ISBN 978-1-60501-028-1. p. PT533.
  10. ^ Katherine Tarbox, "John Fowles's Islands: Landscape and Narrative's Negative Space," in John Fowles and Nature: Fourteen Perspectives on Landscape, ed. James R. Aubrey (Madison, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1999), 58. Accessed via Questia Online Library, a subscription required service.
  11. ^ "Lynne Drexler Biography". 
  12. ^ Lynne Mapp Drexler; Susan Danly; Thomas McCormick Gallery. Lynne Drexler: Early Spring : McCormick Gallery, Chicago, April 17 – June 5, 2010. Vincent Vallarino Fine Art; 2010.


  • Lynne Drexler: Painter. Monhegan Museum. Custom Museum Publishing Inc: Rockland, Maine, 2008.