EMERSON WOELFFER BIOGRAPHY



{ Chronology | Solo Exhibitions | Group Exhibitions | Collections | Teaching | Awards | Catalogues | Bibliography ]



Chronology

1914
Born Chicago, Illinois, July 27

1935-37
Attends the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL

1938
Joins WPA Arts Program

1939
Joins US Army Air Force

1946
Marries photographer Dina Anderson

1949
Moves to Yucatan, Mexico

1957-59
Moves to Forio d'Ischia Naples, Italy

1960
Moves to Los Angeles, CA



Solo Exhibitions

2003
Manny Silverman Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
Tobey C. Moss Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
Gallery at REDCAT (CalArts at Disney Hall), Los Angeles, CA
College of the Canyons Art Gallery, Santa Clarita, CA

2000
Emerson Woelffer: Selected Works, Manny Silverman Gallery, Los Angeles, CA, 15 January - 26 February

1998
Emerson Woelffer: In The Studio, Recent Works, Manny Silverman Gallery, Los Angeles, CA, 23 May - 27 June 1998

1996
Emerson Woelffer: Selected Works 1947 - 1996, Manny Silverman Gallery, Los Angeles, CA, 29 June - 10 August. (brochure)

1995
Emerson Woelffer: Fifty Years of Work, Hyundai Art Gallery, Soeul, Korea, April 11-26 (catalogue).

1993
Emerson Woelffer: Recent Paintings Inspired by 'Girl Before a Mirror', Manny Silverman Gallery, Los Angeles, Dec 1993 - Jan 1994.
Emerson Woelffer, Tobey Moss Gallery, Los Angeles, CA, May.

1992
Emerson Woelffer: A Modernist Odyssey (A fifty year retrospective of works on paper), Otis Parsons Art Institute, Los Angeles, CA (catalogue).
Emerson Woelffer: Selected Paintings from Four Decades An exhibition at Two Galleries, Manny Silverman Gallery and James Corcoran Gallery, September 25 - October 24.

1990
Emerson Woelffer: Collages 1978 - 1982, Manny Silverman Gallery, Los Angeles

1987
Emerson Woelffer: Recent Work, Wenger Gallery, Los Angeles, CA, June 13 - July 30 (brochure)

1986
Emerson Woelffer: Recent Collages, Art Gallery, Los Angeles Valley College, Van Nuys, CA (brochure with essay by June Harwood)

1984
Emerson Woelffer: New Paintings, Gruenebaum Gallery, New York, NY, April 3 - 28 (brochure)

1983
Emerson Woelffer Collage, San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art, San Jose.

1982
Emerson Woelffer and Felix Ruvolo: Paintings of the Fifties, Gruenebaum Gallery, New York, NY, May 11 - June 5
Emerson Woelffer: Profile of the Artist, 1947 - 1981, The Art Gallery, Visual Arts
Center, California State University, Fullerton, Fullerton, CA, Feb 5 - Mar 11 (catalogue with essay by Gerald Nordland), Montgomery Art Gallery, Pomona College, Claremont, CA, Hoshour Gallery, Albuquerque, NM

1978
Emerson Woelffer: Paintings and Collages, Gruenebaum Gallery, New York, NY, Jan 10 - Feb 11 (catalogue with introduction by Robert Motherwell)
Abe Adler Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

1976
Poindexter Gallery, New York, NY

1974
Emerson Woelffer, The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC, Jun 22 - July 28 (catalogue)
Emerson Woelffer: A Survey Exhibition, The Years 1947-1974, The Newport Harbor Art Museum, Newport, CA, April 27 - June 2 (catalogue)

1973
Jodi Scully Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

1972
Jodi Scully Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

1970
Emerson Woelffer: 1956-69, Honolulu Academy of Arts, Honolulu, Hawaii, January 15 - February 15 (catalogue)

1969
David Stuart Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

1967
Quay Gallery, San Francisco, CA

1965
Gallery 16, Graz, Austria
David Stuart Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

1964
Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, CA

1963
Emerson Woelffer, Gres Gallery, Chicago, IL (catalogue)

1962
Emerson Woelffer: Work from 1946 to 1962, Pasadena Art Museum, Pasadena, CA, Oct 24 - Nov 18, (catalogue with essay by Gerald Nordland)

1961
La Jolla Art Center, La Jolla, CA
Poindexter Gallery, New York, NY
Primus-Stuart Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

1960
Paul Kantor Gallery, Beverly Hills, CA

1959
Poindexter Gallery, New York, NY

1958
Poindexter Gallery, New York, NY (brochure)

1956
Paul Kantor Gallery, Beverly Hills, CA

1953
Margaret Brown Gallery, Boston, MA

1951
Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL

1950
Contemporary American Painting and Sculpture 1950, Krannert Art Museum, University of Illinois, Champaign, IL

1949
Black Mountain College, North Carolina
The Artist's Gallery, New York, NY



Selected Group Exhibitions:

2001-2003
The Stamp of Impulse: Abstract Expressionist Prints, Traveling exhibition organized by the Worcester Art Museum, Worcester, MA; The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH, Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, TX; Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwester University, Evanston, IL (catalogue)

2001
Abstract Expressionism: Expanding the Canon, 7 Sept - 13 Oct, Gary Snyder Fine Art, New York, NY

1999
Vanguard Art in Colorado, 1940-1970, Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, Boulder, CO, September 23 - November 15 1999,
Thomas McCormick Gallery, Chicago, IL, July 16 - August 28.
The Collection of Robert Rowan, Mills College Art Museum, Oakland, CA, 9 September - 24 October.

1998
The Poindexter Collection of Modern American Masters, Denver Art Museum, Denver, CO, Oct 17, 1998 - May 16, 1999.

1997
Collage & Assemblage, Manny Silverman Gallery, Los Angeles, Mar/Apr
Illusive Paradise, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, Oct - Nov
California Modernism & Abstraction, Tobey Moss Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

1996
Art in Chicago, 1945 - 1995, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, Illinois, Nov 14, 1996 - Mar 15, 1997. Reproductions in catalogue, p. 155, 159.
On the Edge of America: California Modernist Art, Jack Rutberg Fine Arts, Nov 8, 1996 - Feb. 1, 1997.
Group Exhibition, Manny Silverman Gallery, Los Angeles, 16 Nov - 21 Dec.
The Third Dimension, Tobey Moss Gallery, Los Angeles, 26 Oct - 30 Dec

1995
Assemblage & Collage, Tobey Moss Gallery, Los Angeles, 7 Nov - 6 Jan 1996
Pasted Papers: Collage and the 20th Century, Louis Stern Gallery, Los Angeles
Trilogy: Three Approaches to Collage, Everts, Woelffer, Darrow, West Gallery, Claremont Graduate School, Claremont, CA, Jan 17-Feb 3 (catalogue)
Air-Conditioned Abstraction, Manny Silverman Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

1994
Works on Paper, Manny Silverman Gallery, Los Angeles, CA, June.

1993
Collage, Brian Gross Fine Art, San Francisco, CA, May 6 - June 19.
The Usual Suspects, Manny Silverman Gallery, Los Angeles, 9 Sept - 16 Oct.

1992
American Abstract Drawings: 1930 - 1987, Selections from the Arkansas Arts Center Foundation Collection, curated by Townsend Wolfe, The Art Gallery of the Claremont colleges, Claremont, CA (catalogue)

1991
Paradox, Museum of New Mexico, Santa Fe, NM, Oct 10, - Feb 20, 1992

1990
Functionists High, American Gallery, Los Angeles, CA, May 20 - June 17 (catalogue)

1989
California Clay Redux Europa, Wenger Gallery, Los Angeles, CA, Apr - May

1986
Elders of the Tribe, Bernice Steinbaum Gallery, New York, NY, Dec 2 - Jan 8, 1987 (catalogue)

1983
Tenth Anniversary Exhibition, Gruenebaum Gallery, New York, NY, Sept 10 - Oct 15 (catalogue)
California Contemporary Recent Work of Twenty-three Artists, Monterey Peninsula Museum of Art, Monterey, CA, May 1-29 (catalogue)

1982
Uniquely American, The Artrain (catalogue)
The Michael & Dorothy Blankfort Collection, Los Angeles County Museum, Los Angeles, CA, April 1 - June 13 (catalogue)

1981
Southern California Artists: 1940-1980, Laguna Beach Museum of Art, Laguna Beach, CA, July 24 - Sept 13 (catalogue)
Los Angeles Prints: 1883-1980, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA (catalogue)

1980
Emerson Woelffer/Karla Klarin, Kirk de Gooyer Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
50's Abstract, Conejo Valley Art Museum, Thousand Oaks, CA (catalogue)

1979
100 Artists 100 Years: Centennial Exhibition of the Art Institute of Chicago, Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL, Nov 23 - Jan 20, 1980 (catalogue)

1976
Five On Paper, Janus Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

1974
Nine Senior Southern California Painters, Los Angeles Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA
Painting: Color, Form and Surface, Lang Art Gallery, Scripps College, Claremont, CA, Oct 1 - 27 (catalogue)

1973
Pasadena Museum of Modern Art, Pasadena, CA

1973
Second Annual Print Exhibition, Honolulu Academy of Art, Honolulu, Hawaii (catalogue)

1970
A Show of Hands, California College of Arts and Crafts Gallery, Oakland, CA (catalogue)

1969
Tamarind: Homage to Lithography, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY (catalogue)
Microcosm '69, Long Beach Museum of Art, Long Beach, CA (catalogue)

1968
The One hundred and Sixty-third Annual Exhibition, American Painting & Sculpture, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelpia, PA, Jan 19 - Mar 3 (catalogue), Raymond A. Speiser Memorial Prize

1967
American Painting Since 1900 from the Permanent Collection of the North Carolina Museum of Art, North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, NC, April 1-23 (catalogue)
A Selection of Paintings and Sculptures from the Collection of Mr. & Mrs. Robert Rowan, University of California at Irvine, Irvine, CA, May 2-21 and San Francisco Museum of Art, San Francisco, CA, June 2 - July 2 (catalogue)

1966
California '66: Painters and Sculptors, Crocker Art Gallery, Sacramento, CA (catalogue)

1964
Post Painterly Abstraction, travelling exhibition organized by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, travels to the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN; and the Art Gallery of Toronto, Toronto, Canada (catalogue)

1963
Arts of Southern California XIII - Painting, Long Beach Museum of Art, Long Beach, CA (catalogue)

1962
Fifty California Artists, San Francisco Museum of Art, San Francisco, CA (catalogue)
The Artist's Environment: West Coast, Amon Carter Museum of Western Art, Fort Worth, TX (catalogue)

1961
One Hundred Paintings from the G. David Thompson Collection, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY, May - August, (catalogue)

1959
One Hundred Works on Paper, Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, MA
Internationale Ausstellung Graphik der Gegenwart, Gallerie Kunst der Gegenwart, Salsburg, Austria, February (catalogue)
W.R. Valentiner Memorial Exhibition, Masterpieces of Art, North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, NC, April 16 - May 17 (catalogue)

1958
Carnegie International, Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, PA

1957
Pacemakers, Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, TX, April 4 - 28

1952
Carnegie International, Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, PA
Sixty-second Annual Exhibition, University Galleries, University of Nebraska, March 2 - 30 (catalogue)

1951
Contemporary Painting in the United States: Annual Exhibition 1951, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA (catalogue)

1950
Six American Painters, The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, MA

1949
The Whitney Annual, the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY

1948
San Francisco Museum of Art, San Francisco, CA
The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL

1945
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY

1943
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY



Selected Public Collections:

Arkansas Art Center, Little Rock, AK
Amon Carter Museum of Western Art, Fort Worth, TX
Baltimore Art Museum, Baltimore, MD
Bauhaus Archives, Berlin, Germany
Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris, France
Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, Colorado Springs, CO
Fresno Art Museum, Fresno, CA
Honolulu Academy of Arts, Honolulu, HI
Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Israel
Kansas City Museum, Kansas City, MO
Krannert Art Museum, University of Illinois, Champaign, IL
La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art, La Jolla, CA
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA
The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA
Museum of New Mexico, Santa Fe, NM
Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee, MN
New Orleans Museum, New Orleans, LO
Newport Harbor Art Museum, Newport Beach, CA
Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art, Utah State University, Logan, UT
North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, NC
Pasadena Museum of Modern Art, Pasadena, CA
San Francisco Museum of Art, San Francisco, CA
Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, WA
Smithsonian Archives of American Art, Washington, DC
The Frederick S. Wight Art Gallery, University of California, Los Angeles, CA
University Art Museum, University of California, Berkeley, CA
University of Iowa Museum of Art, Iowa City, IA
Washington Gallery of Modern Art, Washington, DC
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY
Wooster Art Museum, Wooster, MA



Awards & Fellowships

1991
Honorary Doctorate Degree, Otis Parsons Art Institute/The New School of Social Research, Los Angeles, CA

1988
Francis Greenberger Award (in conjunction with the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY)

1984
Pollock-Krasner Grant

1983
Tamarind Lithography workshop, Albuquerque, NM

1974
National Endowment for the Arts Grant

1970
Artist-in-Residency, Honolulu Academy of Arts, Honolulu, Hawaii

1967
Guggenheim Fellowship

1965
US State Department Grant, travels and lectures various cities in Turkey

1961
Tamarind Lithography Workshop, Los Angeles, CA

1950
Honorary Bachelor of Arts degree, Institute of Design, Chicago, IL

1948
Pauline Palmer First Prize for Painting, Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL



Teaching Positions:

1974-89
Otis Art Institute, Los Angeles, CA

1969-73
California Institute of the Arts (Cal Arts), Valencia, CA

1959-69
Chouinard Art Institute, Los Angeles, CA

1950-56
Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, Colorado Springs, CO

1942-49
Institute of Design, Chicago, IL



Books & Catalogues:

Ayres, Ann, and Dowell, Roy. Emerson Woelffer: A Modernist Odyssey, Fifty Years of Works on Paper, Exhibition catalogue. Otis Gallery, Los Angeles, CA, 1992.
Beneke, Daphne Lane. Fifteen Profiles: Distinguished California Modernists, Exhibition catalogue, Fresno Art Museum, Fresno, CA, 1995.
Duncan, Michael. Emerson Woelffer: Fifty Years of Work, Exhibition catalogue, Hundai Art Gallery, Soeul, Korea, 1995.
Hopkins, Henry. 50 West Coast Artists, Chronicle Books, San Francisco, 1981.
Motherwell, Robert. Emerson Woelffer: Paintings and Collages. Exhibition catalogue. Gruenebaum Gallery, New York, NY, 1978.
McFadden, Michael. Trilogy: 3 Approaches to Collage, Exhibition catalogue, Claremont Graduate School, Claremont, CA, 1995
Mullican, Lee, and Schipper, Merle. Visions of Inner Space. Exhibition catalogue, Wight Art Gallery, Los Angeles, CA, 1987.
Nordland, Gerald. Emerson Woelffer: Works from 1946-1962. Exhibition catalogue, Pasadena Art Museum, Pasadena, CA, 1962.
Nordland, Gerald. Emerson Woelffer: Profile of the Artist, 1947-1981. Exhibition catalogue, The Art Gallery, California State University, Fullerton, 1982.
Plagens, Peter. The Sunshine Muse: Contemporary Art on the West Coast, Praeger Press, New York, NY, 1974.
Wescher, Paul. Emersn Woelffer: A Survey Exhibition, The Years 1947-1974. Exhibition catalogue. Newport Harbor Art Museum, Newport Beach, CA, 1974.



Selected Bibliography:

Adlow, Dorothy. "Woelffer's Painting." Unidentified Boston newspaper, October 15, 1953
Ashton, Dore. "Art: Italy in a Symbolic Language." The New York Times, Oct 15, 1959.
Barnes, Molly. "Emerson Woelffer: The Painter's Mentor." Venice, Vol II, no. 10, January 1991, pp 58-60.
Blake, Caroline. "Atitudes and Antecedents in Paper." Artweek, April, 1986, p.4.
Brenson, Michael. "Emerson Woelffer." The New York Times, ("Weekend"), April 13, 1984.
Brenson, Michael. "In the Arts: Critics' Choices." New York Times, Sunday, Sept 25, 1983 (review of Gruenebaum exhibition)
Burkhart, Dorothy. "Pushing Paper and the Art of Improvisation." San Jose Mercury News ("Arts and Books"), April 24, 1983, p. 5.
Canavier, Elena Karina. "Emerson Woelffer Survey." Artweek, May 25, 1974.
Coke, Van Deren. The Painter and the Photograph. University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM, 1964.
Colpitt, Frances and Delgado, Michael. "History Repeats Itself (Part I), excerpts from the Los Angeles Art Community: A Group Portrait," a segment of the University of California, Los Angeles Oral History Project The Journal of the Los Angeles Institute of Contemporary Art, No. 35, Winter 1983, pp 18 - 39.
Combsland, Jacqueline. "A Look at Emerson Woelffer." Orange County Daily Pilot, April 29, 1974.
Danieli, Fidel. "Nine Senior Southern California Painters." Journal of the Los Angeles Institute of Contemporary Art, No. 3 (1974), pp.32-34.
Davis, Bruce. "Emerson Woelffer." Art Issues, Nov/Dec 1992, p. 37.
Dowell, Emerson. “Emerson Woelffer: A Modernist Odyssey,” Artspace, Dec. 1992, p. 78-79.
Driscoll, Edgar J., Jr. "This Week in the Art World." Unidentified Boston newspaper, 1953
Duncan, Michael, "Abstract Compounds." Art in America, March 1993.
Frank, Peter. "Emerson Woelffer." LA Weekly, "Pick of the Week," Nov 6-12, '92, p.130.
Gardner, Colin. "Reviews." The Los Angeles Times, June 19, 1987.
Genauer, Emily. Unidentified New York newspaper, 1949
Gipe, Lawrence. "A Poetry of Abstraction." Artweek, July 11, 1987, p. 4.
Harwood, June. "Profile: Emerson Woelffer." Visions Art Quarterly, Spring 1992, pp 57-58.
Jallon, Allan M. "Emerson Woelffer: Art in the Abstract." Angeles, April 1991, pp. 38-40.
Kandel, Susan. "Calm, Exhilaration From Woelffer Retrospective." Los Angeles Times, Thursday, October 29, 1992.
Krasne, Belle. "Woelffer's Rhythms." Art Digest, 1951, p. 15.
Lewis, Louise. "Emerson Woelffer Reassessed." Artweek, May 20, 1978, p. 3, ill.
Moholy-Nagy, L. Vision in Motion, Paul Theobald, Chicago, 1947.
Motherwell, Robert. "Emerson Woelffer." Artnews, February 1978, pp. 80-81.
Muchnic, Suzanne. "Emerson Woelffer Blooms on Abstract-Expressionist Vine." The Los Angeles Times, March 25, 1981, Part VI
M.M. "Emerson Woelffer." ARTnews, September 1984
Nordland, Gerald. "Art." Frontier, February 1956, pp. 23-23.
Nordland, Gerald. "The Contemporary Scene." Frontier, January 1960, pp. 16-17.
Nordland, Gerald. "The Art of Emerson Woelffer." San Diego Magazine, vol 13, no. 10, August 1961, pp. 48-49, 90-92, ill.
Nordland, Gerald. "Emerson Woelffer." Art International, Nov. 10, 1963, pp. 77-79.
Pagel, David. "Carefree Modernist," Los Angeles Times, Saturday, December 18, 1993.
Plagens, Peter. Sunshine Muse: Contemporary Art on the West Coast. Praeger, NY, 1974.
Rubin, David S. "Emerson Woelffer: Pioneer Abstract-Expressionist." Lang Gallery, Pomona, California, 1981.
Russell, John. The New York Times, January, 1978.
Seldis, Henry. "A Retrospective of Woelffer's Works." Los Angeles Times, May 27, 1974.
Sullivan, Meg. "Grand Old Man of LA Art." Daily News, LA Life Weekend, Sept 25, 1992.
Terenzio, Stephanie. The Painter and the Printer: Robert Motherwell's Graphics 1943-1980. The American Federation of the Arts, New York, 1980.
Wilson, William. "Old Timers Steady a Fledgling Gallery." Los Angeles Times, 3 Dec 1974.
Wilson, William. "Emerson Woelffer's Lessons in Artistic Integrity." Los Angeles Times, Friday, October 23, 1992, p. F24.
Zimmerer Kathy. “Some early paths of West Coast Abstraction: John McLaughlin and Emerson Woelffer.” Artweek, Sept 1996, p. 14.
---- "Emerson Woelffer." ARTnews, 1978, pp 30-31.
---- "Emerson Woelffer." Arts, May 1958.



Return to Emerson Woelffer