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Shirley Jaffe

Born in: 1923

United States

Biography
Shirley Jaffe, abstract painter and sculptor, was born in New Jersey, USA, in 1923 and educated at Cooper Union in New York City. She moved to Paris in 1949 as a young painter and has carried on her career primarily in France, although she returns regularly to the United States where she has exhibited since the early '90s at the Holly Solomon Gallery and in other New York group shows. In Paris she has exhibited at the Galerie Fournier and later began to show her work at the Nathalie Obadia Gallery. In New York City she has shown her work at the Tibor de Nagy Gallery. Shirley Jaffe began as an abstract expressionist but her style changed to the flat, uninflected surfaces and single-colour shapes that she has used ever since. In 1968, a grant year in Berlin may reunited her thinking with the European abstraction of Arp,Tauber-Arp, Kandinski and Herbin. "It changed when I went to Berlin," she said. "I had a feeling that my paintings were being read as landscapes, which was not my intention. I felt I had to clear out the woods." Though she works on small gouaches as preparations, when she paints in oil Jaffe inscribes her forms very large , on canvases that are more often than not, larger than a person. At this scale a longish shape may seem more like the traces of the trajectory of her drawing arm , as in an Abstract Expressionist painting. Yet , as if she were painting a geometrical abstraction, Jaffe eschews bleeding edges or almost any changes in density or atmosphere. With hard, clear edges, and flat grounds, she depends on the presence and location of discrete shapes whose structures themselves must yield up movement.
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