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Emerson Woelffer

American, 1914-2003
Once dubbed “the Grandfather of L.A. Modernism,” the Chicago-born Emerson Seville Woelffer was active as an innovative painter, collagist, and educator throughout his long and prolific career. A pioneering Abstract Expressionist, Woelffer’s brightly colored work with jagged forms reveals Cubist and Surrealist influences. Coming of age in Chicago during the Great Depression, Woelffer appreciated the improvisational nature of jazz music, a sensibility he would later apply to painting through gestural variation, energetic strokes, and a rhythmic use of line. From 1935 to 1938, Woelffer, a high school dropout, studied at the Art Institute of Chicago while employed as a janitor, early evidence of his enduring work ethic. He joined the Works Progress Administration arts program in 1938 as an easel painter, followed by a two-year stint as a topographical draftsman for the United States Air Force. The director of the Chicago Institute of Design, László Moholy-Nagy, invited Woelffer to join the faculty in 1942. His experiences there brought him into contact with the modernist idiom of the day, and his interactions with students caused him to re-examine his own practice. He also exhibited in group shows at the Guggenheim Museum in New York, participated in the Whitney Museum Annual (1949) and won the Pauline Palmer Prize for painting at the Art Institute of Chicago (1948). In 1949 Emerson Woelffer and his wife Dina, a fine art photographer, were invited by Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner to New York before they headed to Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula. Exposure to Pre-Columbian art led Woelffer to incorporate totemic figures and vibrant colors into his abstract paintings. In 1959 Woelffer joined the faculty at the Chouinard Art Institute (later the California Institute of the Arts) in Los Angeles, where he instructed notable emerging artists until 1973 and where he was instrumental in bringing Modernism to LA. Ed Ruscha was one of his students. In 1974, Woelffer was named chair of the art department at the Otis Art Institute (now the Otis School of Art and Design). His tenure lasted until his retirement in 1989, and he was widely admired for his interdisciplinary approach in the classroom. An endowed scholarship fund in his name provides support for promising young artists and designers. Suffering from macular degeneration, Woelffer switched to drawing with white crayon on black paper in his final years of artistic activity. Emerson won a prestigious Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship in 1967 and then went to wprk in Europe. Woelffer’s work is represented in the collections of such distinguished institutions as the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the National Gallery of Art, and the Museum of Modern Art, among others.
(Biography provided by Daphne Alazraki)
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Creator: Emerson Woelffer
Vintage Emerson Fan, St. Louis
By Emerson Woelffer
Located in Napa, CA
Large vintage fan with with turquoise blades and manufacturer medallions on front and back reading "Emerson Electric Fan St. Louis."
Category

20th Century American Emerson Woelffer

Materials

Metal

Emerson Woelffer Lithograph, 50/50 Signed, Dated, Unframed, Modern 74
By Emerson Woelffer
Located in Los Angeles, CA
Nice lithograph, of the well-known modernist artist Emerson Woelffer. Signed, numbered 50/50. Dated 74.
Category

1970s American Modern Vintage Emerson Woelffer

Materials

Paper

Emerson Woelffer Bonze Sculpture, Abstract Face, Signed, Dated, Numbered
By Emerson Woelffer
Located in Los Angeles, CA
Nice modern abstract Face, by the well known artist, Emerson Woelffer. Signed, numbered 1/4 and dated 1947.
Category

1940s American Modern Vintage Emerson Woelffer

Materials

Bronze

Emerson Woelffer Clay Sculptures, Abstract, Signed and Dated
By Emerson Woelffer
Located in Los Angeles, CA
Icon modernist artist, in these two clay sculptures. Prized individually at $ 3000.00 each Measures are different in each, please contact dealer for more curate size.
Category

1980s American Post-Modern Vintage Emerson Woelffer

Materials

Ceramic, Clay

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Previously Available Items
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Emerson Woelffer Abstract Expressionist Painting, 1955
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Emerson Woelffer furniture for sale on 1stDibs.

Emerson Woelffer furniture are available for sale on 1stDibs. These distinctive items are frequently made of metal and are designed with extraordinary care. There are many options to choose from in our collection of Emerson Woelffer furniture, although black editions of this piece are particularly popular. Many of the original furniture by Emerson Woelffer were created in the modern style in united states during the 20th century. If you’re looking for additional options, many customers also consider furniture by Jerry Meatyard, Richard Faralla, and Pietro Consagra. Prices for Emerson Woelffer furniture can differ depending upon size, time period and other attributes — on 1stDibs, these items begin at $315 and can go as high as $3,500, while a piece like these, on average, fetch $2,550.

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