Skip to main content

Oral history interview with Shirley Jaffe, 2010 Sept. 27-28

Jaffe, Shirley, 1923-2016

Painter, Sculptor


Collection Information

Size: 1 Item, Sound recording, master: 1 compact disc, 3 WMA files (4 hr., 28 min.), digital, 2 5/8 in.; 94 Pages, Transcript

Summary: An interview of Shirley Jaffe conducted 2010 Sept. 27 and 28, by Avis Berman, for the Archives of American Art's Elizabeth Murray Oral History of Women in the Visual Arts project, at Jaffe's studio, in Paris, France.
Jaffe speaks of living with her family in Elizabeth, NJ and Brooklyn, NY; attending Abraham Lincoln High School, Parsons School of Design, Brooklyn College, and The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art; visiting the Brooklyn Museum, the Museum of Non-Objective Art (now the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum), and The Museum of Modern Art; living on St. Mark's Place and in Brooklyn, NY ; her marriage in 1949 to Irving Jaffe; moving to Washington, DC and visiting The Philips Collection; moving to and adjusting to life in France; socializing with American artists in Paris, France; moving between New York and France; working and living in Berlin, Germany with a grant from the Ford Foundation; living independently in France; visiting the cathedrals and galleries in Italy; teaching undergraduate students; the evolution of her paintings and technique; her painting process and use of cellophane; painting on glass; murals; and her exhibitions and commissions. Jaffe also recalls Leon Friend, Morris Kantor, Pierre Bonnard, Karl Knaths, Max and Esther Gould, Jules Olitski, Michael Goldberg, Joan Mitchell, Beauford Delaney, Sam Francis, Janice Biala, Hermine Tworkov Ford, Edwin Dickinson, Jean-Paul Riopelle, Kimber Smith, Jean Fournier, Al Held, Haywood Bill Rivers, Milton Glaser, and others.

Biographical/Historical Note

Shirley Jaffe (1923-2016) was an abstract painter and sculptor in Paris, France. Avis Berman (1949- ) is a scholar in New York, N.Y.


This interview is part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and administrators.

Language Note

English .


This interview is part of the Elizabeth Murray Oral History of Women in the Visual Arts Project, funded by the A G Foundation.

How to Use This Collection

Transcript: Authorization to quote or reproduce for the purposes of publication requires written permission from Jerome Sternstein. Contact Reference Services for more information.

Quotes and excerpts must be cited as follows: Oral history interview with Shirley Jaffe, 2010 Sept. 27-28. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.