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Dore Ashton papers, circa 1928-2014

Ashton, Dore, 1928-2017

Author, Educator, Art critic

Collection Information

Size: 35.6 Linear feet

Summary: The papers of Dore Ashton measure 35.6 linear feet and date from circa 1928-2014, with one letter in the Joseph Cornell subject file dating from 1849. The records document Dore Ashton's career as an art critic, historian and educator, with particular depth for the period of 1952 through 1990. The collection contains a small amount of biographical material, as well as correspondence, writings, subject files, printed materials, artwork, and reference photographs of artworks. An addition to the Dore Ashton papers includes biographical material, correspondence, writings, writing project and subject files, teaching files, printed material, artwork and sketchbooks, and photographic material.

Biographical/Historical Note

Dore Ashton (1928-) is an art critic, author, and educator living in New York City. She wrote, contributed , and edited more than 30 books. Ashton was born in Newark New Jersey in 1928 and received an MA from Harvard University in 1950. Her many books and articles focus on late 19th and 20th century art and artists. Ashton was associate editor at Art Digest from 1952-1954, and critic for Arts and Architecture at the New York Times , 1955-1960. Starting in 1962 she held several lecturing posts at various institutions including the School of Visual Arts, Cooper Union, and the New School for Social Research. She was awarded a Guggenheim fellowship in 1964 and a National Endowment for the Humanities grant in 1980. Among Ashton's books are Abstract Art Before Columbus , 1956; Poets and the Past , 1959; A Joseph Cornell Album , 1974; Yes, But...A Critical Study of Philip Guston , 1976, About Rothko , 1983; The New York School: a Cultural Reckoning , 1973; Noguchi East and West , 1992; and David Rankin: The New York Years , 2013. Dore Ashton was the first critic to develop a comprehensive and eye-witness account of the history of the Abstract Expressions.


The Dore Ashton papers were donated to the Archives of American Art by Dore Ashton May 27, 1982, May 8, 1997, June 2, 2011, and March, 25, 2016.

Related Materials

Language Note

Most of the collection is in English; some correspondence and printed materials are in French, Spanish, Italian, German, Norwegian, and possibly Latvian.


Funding for the processing of a portion of this collection was provided the Smithsonian Institution Collections Care and Preservation Fund