Emerson Woelffer (American, 1914-2003)
Oil on canvas 
34-1/8 x 22 in. (86.7 x 55.9 cm) 
Credit Line:
Norton Simon Museum, Gift of Mr. & Mrs. Harold P. Ullman 
Accession Number:
© 2011 Estate of Emerson Woelffer, Hackett Mill Gallery 
On View

Teaching generations of young Southern California artists through his positions at Chouinard and Otis Art Institute, Chicago-born Emerson Woelffer is often considered the grandfather of Los Angeles modernism. His career as an abstract artist began under the tutelage of Laszlo Moholy-Nagy at the Bauhaus-inspired Institute of Design in his home town, where he experimented with bright color and whimsical line in a style he designated as Abstract Surrealist. Before settling in Southern California in 1959, in 1950 Woelffer was invited to teach at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, where he established lifelong friendships with Ynez Johnston and Robert Motherwell, among others. It was during his last year in Colorado that he painted Winterscape, one of a series of abstract works responding to Colorado’s winters and incorporating a newfound interest in automatic writing and abstract communication.


Mr. and Mrs. Harold P. Ullman, Los Angeles, gift 1959 to;
Pasadena Art Museum, Pasadena, 1959-1975;
Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena, 1975.

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