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Elise Asher papers, 1923-1994

Elise Asher papers, 1923-1994

Asher, Elise, 1914-2004


Collection Information

Size: 1.6 linear ft.

Summary: Biographical material, letters, business records, writings, art work, printed material, and photographs.

Biographical/Historical Note

Elise Asher (1914-2004) was a painter, sculptor, and poet from New York, N.Y.


Donated 1975-1995 by Elise Asher. Microfilming (reels 4938-4939) completed with funds provided by the Helena Rubinstein Foundation.

A Finding Aid to the Elise Asher Papers,
, in the Archives of American Art
Finding aid prepared by Jean Fitzgerald
Biographical Note
Born in Chicago, Illinois, in 1914, Elise Asher studied at the Art Institute of Chicago, Bradford Junior College, Boston College, and at Simmons College.
She began her career as a poet, culminating in a volume of her poetry entitled
The Meandering Absolute
. Upon her 1947 arrival in New York City, her attention turned to painting and sculpture. The Tanager Gallery mounted her first solo exhibition in 1953.
Asher was married to painter Nanno de Groot from 1949 to 1957. A year later she married poet Stanley Kunitz, whose work she often illustrated.
The collection is arranged into seven series according to material type. The contents of each folder have been arranged chronologically.
Series 1: Biographical Material, 1923-1976 (box 1, 1 folder)
Series 2: Letters, 1941-1988, undated (box 1, 2 folders)
Series 3: Business Records, 1955-1988, undated (box 1, 43 folders)
Series 4: Writings, 1973-1979, undated (box 1, 4 folders)
Series 5: Artwork, undated (box 1, 2 folders)
Series 6: Printed Material, 1929-1994, undated (boxes 1-3, 30 folders)
Series 7: Photographs, 1951-1973, undated (box 2, 5 folders)
Scope and Content Note
The Elise Asher papers, 1923-1994, measure 1.6 linear feet and reflect Asher's career as a poet, painter, and sculptor, and her friendships with many of the more prominent artists of the mid-twentieth century. The collection contains biographical material, letters, writings, works of art, business records, printed material, and photographs.
Notable correspondents found in the collection include Fritz Bultman, Helen Frankenthaler, Philip Guston, Hans Hofmann, Norman Mailer, Robert Motherwell, Louise Nevelson, Mark Rothko, Theodoros Stamos, Jack Tworkov, and Kurt Vonnegut.
Donated 1975-1995 by Elise Asher. Microfilming (reels 4938-4939) completed with funds provided by the Helena Rubinstein Foundation.
Processing Information
The bulk of the collection was processed by Jean Fitzgerald in 1994. The 1995 donation (in box 3) was integrated into the collection during conversion to in 2002. Partial microfilming of the Elise Asher papers was completed with funds provided by the Helena Rubinstein Foundation.

Additional Forms Available

Microfilm reels 4938-4939 available for use at Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan.

Restrictions on Access

Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.

How to Cite This Collection

Elise Asher papers, 1923-1994. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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