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Shirley Jaffe papers, circa 1950-2011

Shirley Jaffe papers, circa 1950-2011

Jaffe, Shirley, 1923-

Sculptor, Painter

Collection Information

Size: 7.1 linear feet

Biographical/Historical Note

Shirley Jaffe (1923-2016), née Sternstein, was an American painter living a working in Paris.


The Shirley Jaffe papers were donated to the Archives of American Art by Shirley Jaffe in 2014.

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Scope and Contents

The papers of artist Shirley Jaffe measure 7.1 linear feet and date from circa 1950-2011. The collection documents her life and career as an American painter living in Paris through biographical material, letters, notebooks, writings, project files, printed material, photographic material, and sketchbooks.

Letters make up a significant portion of the collection and are comprised predominantly of letters addressed to Shirley from friends and family. In addition to frequent letters received from her siblings and mother, Jaffe also received letters from artists Joan Mitchell, Sam Francis, Kimber Smith, Sylvia Stone and Al Held, Hermine Ford, Robert Kushner, and George Sugarman. Notebooks make up another significant part of the collection and include eighty-four notebooks kept by Jaffe with lists, addresses, notes, sketches and the occasional diary entry. Project files contain correspondence, gouache studies, sketches, and printed material related to commissions and collaborations. The bulk of photographic material documents Jaffe's paintings, however there are some photographs of artists and art world figures including Larry Rivers, Kimber Smith, Linda Nochlin, Sam Francis, Paul Jenkins, and Joan Mitchell at exhibition openings in the 1960s-1970s. Eight sketchbooks contain drawings in ink, marker, and pen. The remainder of the collection consists of scattered biographical material, including one videocassette interview, as well as exhibition catalogs, clippings, and other printed material.

Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information. Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice.

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