chouinard institute

Emerson Woelffer, Postwar Renaissance Man

April 26, 2016

Lot 275, Emerson Woelffer, Cook and Fish (1943)

A self-described “abstract surrealist,” the painter, collagist, and teacher Emerson Woelffer was in many ways the very ideal of a postwar American artist. His distinctive style of Abstract Expressionism was inflected by his many and varied interests and experiences. Certainly one of Woelffer’s most enduring legacies is the inspiration he gave his students. When Woelffer came to Los Angeles in the 1960s he became a mentor to an impressive roster of devoted students at the Chouinard Institute that included Larry Bell, Ed Ruscha, Joe Goode, and Charles Arnoldi. His work was shaped, too, by his move to Southern California, which prompted a discernable shift to bolder, brighter colors in his paintings.

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