Emerson Woelffer (American, 1914 – 2003)
Orange over blue with O
Executed in 1979
Signed, inscribed and dated ‘ Orange over blue with O Woelffer (on the reverse)
Including frame 60.1/4 x 40.1/4 in. (153 x 102.3cm.)
Paper collage and pencil
Emerson Woelffer was an American painter known for his Abstract Expressionist compositions of jagged forms. Woelffer’s attitude towards painting was based in the Surrealist automatic drawing and the subconscious. “I always work first and think later,” he once explained. Born on July 27, 1914 in Chicago, IL, he studied under László Moholy-Nagy at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago before joining the WPA Arts Program in 1938. Woelffer went on to teach at Black Mountain College in North Carolina alongside Mark Rothko and Buckminster Fuller. He also befriended Robert Motherwell, with whom he shared an interest in jazz music and primitive sculpture. The artist relocated to California in the 1960s, where he taught at both the California Institute of Arts in Valencia and the Otis Art Institute. Late in his career, Woelffer began to suffer the effects of macular degeneration and began working with white crayons on black paper in order to better see what he was doing. The artist died on February 2, 2003 in Los Angeles, CA. Today, his works are held in the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, the Norton Simon Museum of Art in Pasadena, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, among others.