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Shirley Jaffe

Shirley Jaffe belongs to the second-generation of American expatriates in Paris.In the forties she was closely connected with Ellsworth Kelly and James Bishop, and particularly with Joan Mitchell, Sam Francis and Jean-Paul Riopelle.Her work is rooted in American abstract expressionism, as she started with informal and gestural paintings, dominated by personal expression.During her stay in Berlin from 1963 to 1964, on a Ford Foundation grant, she called her current work into question and changed its direction towards geometrical painting in which long thought-out shapes organize themselves on a white canvas.As Shirley Jaffe’s work has retained this flat quality, the priority of the surface, it is closer to abstract expressionism than to cubism.The distinctive quality of her work lies in the simplicity of an imaginative formal vocabulary in which the shapes create a dynamic of arranging and re-arranging.The visual pleasure her work offers consists in the subtile play of colors stimulating the viewer’s gaze.