Emerson Woelffer

1914 – 2003


Born in Chicago and educated at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Emerson Woelffer lived and worked in Los Angeles from 1959 until his death in 2003. His brilliant palette and fluid, gestural marks were informed by the improvisation and energy of American jazz and Abstract Expressionism.

He held many influential teaching positions throughout his career, beginning at the Institute of Design in Chicago, then Black Mountain College in Asheville, Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles, and finally Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles, where he taught for fifteen years, until he retired in 1989.

While teaching at Chouinard, he received an artist fellowship to create work at the newly founded Tamarind Lithography Workshop in Los Angeles. He later returned to the workshop after it relocated to Albuquerque, working in the 1970s and 1980s with a new generation of Tamarind printers.

Woelffer’s work is represented in museum collections around the world, including Amon Carter Museum of Art, Fort Worth; Bauhaus Archives, Berlin; Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Portland Art Museum; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Seattle Art Museum; National Gallery of Art, Washington; and Whitney Museum of American Art, among many others.

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