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Figure, 1969

Emerson Woelffer

American, 1914-2003
24 x 18 in. (61.0 x 45.7 cm)
Norton Simon Museum, Anonymous Gift, 1972
© 2011 Estate of Emerson Woelffer, Hackett Mill Gallery

Not on view

After teaching in Chicago at the Institute of Design and later at the venerable Black Mountain College in North Carolina, Emerson Woelffer moved to Los Angeles to teach at Chouinard and later at Otis, where he was responsible for bringing European modernism to two generations of students. Considered by his pupils, Ed Ruscha and Joe Goode among them, as the grandfather of Los Angeles modernism, Woelffer spanned the divide between abstract expressionism and surrealism. His boldly colored abstractions combine deliberation and chance, artistic gesture and purpose. He was a guest artist at Tamarind Lithography Workshop in 1969–70, and though his lithographs do not share the relief-like quality of his collages, they do employ the bright colors and abstracted forms so central to Woelffer’s “abstract surrealism,” as he termed it.

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