Emerson Woelffer, Untitled, oil on canvas, 1949, private collection
July 27, 1914|
|Died||February 2, 2003(aged 88)|
|Education||Art Institute of Chicago|
Emerson Woelffer (July 27, 1914 – February 2, 2003) was a prominent abstract expressionist artist and painter born in Chicago. He studied Education at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago between 1935 and 1937. In 1938 he joined the WPA Arts Program. In 1949 he taught at Black Mountain College at the request of Buckminster Fuller. Between 1949 and 1959, he lived in Yucatán, Mexico and Forio d'Ischia Naples, Italy. In 1960 he moved to Los Angeles, California and from 1969 to 1973 he taught at the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, California. From 1974 and 1992 he taught at The Otis Art Institute (now called Otis College of Art and Design) in Los Angeles, serving as Chair of the Painting Department from 1974 to 1978.
In 1970, he was artist-in-residence at the Honolulu Museum of Art. He received the Pollock-Krasner Grant in 1984 and the Francis J. Greenburger Award, in conjunction with Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum of New York City in 1988. In 1991 he received an Honorary Doctorate Degree from Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles. He felt such a strong attachment to Otis that he left his estate to the college to set up a scholarship fund to benefit future artists. He died in Los Angeles in 2003.
Emerson Woelffer is best known for his boldly colored abstract paintings and collages with jagged forms. He also created sculpture and lithographs. Late in his career―suffering from macular degeneration―he began working in white crayon on black paper. The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center (Colorado Springs, Colorado ), the Honolulu Museum of Art, the Montana Historical Society (Helena, Montana), the Museum of Art (Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah), the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (La Jolla, California), the Neuberger Museum of Art (Purchase College, Purchase, New York), the Oklahoma City Museum of Art (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma), the Portland Art Museum (Portland, Oregon), the San Diego Museum of Art (San Diego, California), Yellowstone Art Museum (Billings, Montana), and the Asheville Art Museum (Asheville, North Carolina) are among the public collections holding work by Emerson Woelffer.
Awards and fellowships
- Guggenheim Felloswhip (for travel to Europe), 1967
- Artist Grant, National Endowment for the Arts, 1974
- Pollock-Krasner Gran, 1984
- Francis J. greenburger Award (in conjunction with the Guggenheim Museum, NY), 1988
- Honorary Doctorate Degree, Otis College of Art and Design, 1991
- Marika Herskovic, American Abstract Expressionism of the 1950s An Illustrated Survey, (New York School Press, 2003.) ISBN 0-9677994-1-4
- Woelffer, Emerson, "At the Center + At the Edge, Curated by Brian Butler", Asheville, North Carolina, Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center, 2008.
- Woelffer, Emerson, Emerson Woelffer, A Solo Flight, Curated by Ed Ruscha, Valencia, California, California Institute of the Arts, 2003.
- Woelffer, Emerson, Emerson Woelffer, Profile of the Artist, 1947-1981, Fullerton, California, California State University, 1982.
- Woelffer, Emerson, A Modernist Odyssey: Fifty Years of Works on Paper, Los Angeles, California, Otis College of Art and Design, 1982.
- Interview of Emerson Woelffer, part of Los Angeles Art Community - Group Portrait[permanent dead link] interview series, Center for Oral History Research, UCLA Library Special Collections, University of California, Los Angeles.