Otis College of Art and Design

July 28, 2017

Los Angeles Modern Auctions (LAMA) and the Estate of Emerson Woelffer have teamed up in an on-going partnership for the estate and legacy of artist Emerson Woelffer. This partnership will include the management and sale of the artist’s estate in future LAMA auctions, private treaty sales, and exhibitions including participation in Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA.  Proceeds from sales will benefit the Scholarship Fund of Otis College of Art and Design.

Emerson Woelffer (1914-2003) taught at Otis College of Art and Design for nearly twenty years, and remained active with the college until his death in 2003. The sale of works by the artist will directly benefit the cause Woelffer dedicated his life to: arts education. Woelffer was a professor and mentor to some of the most influential contemporary artists who emerged from Southern California. Artists such as Ed Ruscha, Larry Bell, Charles Arnoldi, and Joe Goode all studied under Woelffer in the early years of their practices.

The estate of Woelffer mimics the same evolution of the artist’s life. Early works feature a very traditional, painterly style influenced by his time of classical study at the Art Institute of Chicago. Works from the time surrounding Woelffer’s period at Black Mountain College can be seen in context with the practices of Cy Twombly, Elaine de Kooning, and Deborah Sussman. From there the artist moved to the Yucatan in Mexico, where his compositions appear to draw from the traditional, local art of the region. But, it was during his years practicing in Los Angeles that Woelffer truly synthesized his years of traveling and education to his unique style: compositions of abstract expressionism, infused with remnants of each earlier experience. Woelffer’s work and practice are uniquely ‘L.A.’ It is in the special laboratory that is Los Angeles that Woelffer thrived, and it is particularly appropriate that his work stay in the city and be represented by Los Angeles Modern Auctions to benefit Otis College of Art and Design.

Otis College of Art and Design

The Scholarship Fund of Otis College of Art and Design provides vital scholarship funding to many Otis College students who are promising young artists and designers who would be unable to complete their education without this support. Established in 1918, Otis College offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in a wide variety of visual and applied arts, media, and design. Core programs in liberal arts, business practices, and community-driven projects support the College’s mission to prepare diverse students to enrich our world through their creativity, skill, and vision. As Los Angeles’ first professional art school, visionary alumni and faculty include MacArthur and Guggenheim grant recipients, Oscar awardees, and design stars at Apple, Anthropologie, Pixar, Mattel, and more. The renowned Creative Action program has been recognized by the Carnegie Foundation for Community Engagement, and the Otis Report on the Creative Economy is a powerful advocacy tool for creative industries. The College serves the Greater Los Angeles Area through compelling public programming, as well as year-round Continuing Education courses for all ages. More information is available at

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