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Shirley Jaffe


Without turning her back completely on the spontaneous method of her early career in Abstract Expressionism, Shirley Jaffe opted for the geometric abstraction based on dislocation and movement that would henceforth define her work, in which she skilfully amalgamates representational signs. A heterogeneous cross between children’s stickers, Chinese ideograms and Moorish frescoes, her improbable forms relate to no known reality, while yellow, red, blue, black, green  are the leitmotifs for an oeuvre obsessed with colour. Based on a perfect command of rhythm, her chromatic improvisations of colours on a white background recall Matisse’s cut-outs or jazzy variations in Stuart Davis style.
Shirley Jaffe
Born in 1923
Born in 1923 in Elizabeth, New Jersey USA.
Lives and works in Paris.

After studying art at the Cooper Union School of Art in New York and the Philips Art School in Washington, Shirley Jaffe moved to Paris in 1949. From 1963 to 1964, she lived in Berlin on a scholarship from the Ford Foundation. Since 1952, she has regularly exhibited her work in Europe and the US. After a period of gestural painting which brought her closer to friends Sam Francis, Joan Mitchell and Jean-Paul Riopelle, her work took on a more geometric slant.

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