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Emerson Woelffer Estate Works

Emerson-Woelffer drawing
“Emerson Woelffer,” by Kent Twitchell

Proceeds Benefit Otis Scholarships

Otis College of Art and Design created a partnership with the Estate of Emerson Woelffer and Los Angeles Modern Auctions (LAMA) that includes the management and sale of the artist’s estate in future LAMA auctions and private treaties to benefit the Scholarship Fund of Otis College of Art and Design. To view current auctions, visit

Emerson Woelffer (1914-2003) a prominent Abstract Expressionist was widely regarded as “the grandfather of L.A. Modernism.” Woelffer was educated at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and joined the W.P.A.’s Federal Art Project in 1938. In 1949 he taught at Black Mountain College, an experimental art school, at the request of Buckminster Fuller. In 1960 he moved to Los Angeles, California and from 1969 to 1973 he taught at the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, California.

He taught again between 1974 and 1989 at Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles. He was awarded the Pollock-Krasner Grant and Francis Greenberger Award, in conjunction with the Guggenheim Museum in New York. His paintings, collages, and works on paper have been exhibited throughout the country and in 2003 he was featured at REDCAT Gallery for a retrospective curated by his former student, Ed Ruscha.

Emerson Woelffer influenced generations of artists, who still remember his generosity and encouragement. He felt a strong attachment to Otis, and in his estate, he set up a scholarship fund to benefit future artists.

Emerson Woelffer was one of the greats of Abstract Expressionism. It was a privilege being around him during my years at Otis. I could never measure the influence Emerson had on all of us as a teacher, role model and friend.

—Kent Twitchell (’77 MFA Fine Arts) California

Emerson was my drawing teacher (1983 & 1984) and a great soul. I was always touched by his joy and energy.

—Anna Barros (’84, Fine Arts) Brazil