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Catalog Data

Jaffe, Shirley, 1923-2016  Search this
Sugarman, George  Search this
Stone, Sylvia  Search this
Francis, Sam  Search this
Mitchell, Joan  Search this
Kushner, Robert  Search this
Video recordings
Place of publication, production, or execution:
United States
Physical Description:
7.1 Linear feet; 0.26 Gigabytes
The collection is arranged as 7 series Series 1: Biographical Material, 1950s-2006 (0.3 linear feet; Box 1) Series 2: Letters, 1950s-2008 (3 linear feet; Boxes 1-4) Series 3: Notebooks and Writings, 1950s-2000s (0.9 linear feet; Boxes 4-5) Series 4: Project Files, 1970s-2007 (0.6 linear feet; Box 5, OV 9) Series 5: Printed Material, 1952-2011 (0.7 Linear feet; Boxes 5-6, OVs 10-11) Series 6: Photographic Material, 1950s-circa 2010 (1.3 linear feet; Boxes 6-8, 0.260 GB; ER01) Series 7: Sketchbooks, 1960s-2000s (0.3 linear feet; Box 8)
Access Note / Rights:
This collection is open for research. Access to original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center. Researchers interested in accessing born-digital records or audiovisual recordings in this collection must use access copies. Contact References Services for more information.
The papers of artist Shirley Jaffe measure 7.1 linear feet and 0.260 GB and date from circa 1950-2011. The collection documents Jaffe's life and career as an American painter living in Paris through biographical material, letters, notebooks, writings, project files, printed and digital material, photographic material, and sketchbooks.
Shirley Jaffe papers, circa 1950-2011. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Additional Forms:
The bulk of the collection was digitized in 2023 and is available on the Archives of American Art website. Materials which have not been digitized include blank pages, blank versos of photographs and negatives of photographs for which prints exists, duplicates, some appointment books, notebooks, and address books containing primarily names and addresses. In some cases, exhibition catalogs and other publications have only had their covers, title pages, and relevant pages digitized.
Funding for the digitization of this collection was provided by The Walton Family Foundation.
Use Note:
The Archives of American Art makes its archival collections available for non-commercial, educational and personal use unless restricted by copyright and/or donor restrictions, including but not limited to access and publication restrictions. AAA makes no representations concerning such rights and restrictions and it is the user's responsibility to determine whether rights or restrictions exist and to obtain any necessary permission to access, use, reproduce and publish the collections. Please refer to the Smithsonian's Terms of Use for additional information.
Related Materials:
Also found in the Archives of American Art is an oral history interview with Shirley Jaffe conducted by Avis Berman, September 27-28, 2010.
Biography Note:
Abstract painter Shirley Jaffe (1923-2016), née Sternstein, was known for the bold color palette and distinct geometric shapes and patterns that characterized her work. A native of New Jersey, Jaffe lived and worked in Paris, France, for most of her career.
Jaffe was raised in Brooklyn and completed her studies at the Cooper Union in 1945. In 1949 she and husband Irving Jaffe moved to Washington, D.C. where she attended the Phillips Art School before moving to Paris that same year. The Jaffes returned to New York briefly in the early 1950s, but moved back to Paris in 1953, where Jaffe settled and worked for the rest of her life. She was divorced from Irving Jaffe in 1962.
Jaffe began her career as an abstract expressionist but started to work in a flat and geometric style in the late 1960s. She was part of the American expatriate art scene in Paris and associated with Joan Mitchell, Jean-Paul Riopelle, Sam Francis, Kimber Smith, and others. In 1963, Jaffe received a grant from the Ford Foundation to spend a year working in Berlin.
Jaffe took on several commissions in France including illustrations, murals, and notably, the design of stained glass windows in the Chapelle Saint-Jean-l'Evangéliste in Perpignan, titled Funéraria , so named because the chapel was originally a place where the dead awaiting burial were placed. Jaffe worked in collaboration with master craftsman Jean Mauret to execute the brightly colored abstract forms that adorn the windows.
Jaffe's paintings have been exhibited in New York at the Holly Solomon Gallery and the Tibor de Nagy Gallery, and at galleries and museums throughout France. Represented by Galerie Fournier for much of her career, Jaffe has been represented by Galerie Nathalie Obadia since 1999.
Language Note:
English; French
The Shirley Jaffe papers were donated to the Archives of American Art by Shirley Jaffe in 2014.
Digitization Note:
This site provides access to the papers of Shirley Jaffe in the Archives of American Art that were digitized in 2018, and total 12,171 images.
Location Note:
Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, 750 9th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20001
Painters -- France -- Paris  Search this
Women artists  Search this
Women painters  Search this
Lives of artists  Search this
Record number:
Lives of artists
Data Source:
Archives of American Art