A Finding Aid to the Shirley Jaffe Papers, circa 1950-2011, in the Archives of American Art
Digitized Content

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.jaffshir
Creators:
Jaffe, Shirley, 1923-
Dates:
circa 1950-2011
Languages:
Multiple languages
English; French
Physical Description:
7.1 Linear feet
0.26 Gigabytes
Repository:
The papers of artist Shirley Jaffe measure 7.1 linear feet and 0.260 GB 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 and digital material, photographic material, and sketchbooks.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The papers of artist Shirley Jaffe measure 7.1 linear feet and 0.260 GB 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 and digital material, photographic material, and sketchbooks.
Scattered biographical materials include address and appointment books, an interview with Jaffe by Jeff Perkins recorded on one videocassette, and other documents.
Letters make up a significant portion of the collection and are primarily written 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.
The papers include eighty-four notebooks kept by Jaffe containing lists, addresses, notes, sketches and the occasional diary entry. Project files contain correspondence, gouache studies, sketches, and printed material related to commissions and collaborations, including illustrations, murals, and the design of stained glass windows in the Chapelle Saint-Jean-l'Evangéliste in Perpignan, titled Funéraria.
Printed materials include articles, published books about Jaffe, clippings, exhibition catalogs, a recorded radio broadcast, and reviews.
There are photographs, slides, transparencies, and digital photographs depicting Jaffe's paintings, exhibitions, and 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 by Jaffe in ink, marker, and pen.

Arrangement
Arrangement
The collection is arranged as 7 series
  • Series 1: Biographical Material, 1950s-2000s (0.3 linear feet; Box 1)
  • Series 2: Letters, 1950s-2000s (3 linear feet; Box 1-4)
  • Series 3: Notebooks and Writings, 1950s-2000s (0.9 linear feet; Box 4-5)
  • Series 4: Project Files, 1970s-2003 (0.6 linear feet; Box 5, 9)
  • Series 5: Printed Material, 1952-2011 (0.7 linear feet; Box 5-6, 9)
  • Series 6: Photographic Material, 1950s-circa 2010 (1.3 linear feet; Box 6-8, 0.260 GB; ER01)
  • Series 7: Sketchbooks, 1960s-2000s (0.3 linear feet; Box 8)

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Shirley Jaffe (1923-2016), née Sternstein, was an American painter living and working in Paris.
Born in New Jersey and raised in Brooklyn, Shirley Jaffe completed her studies at the Cooper Union in 1945. In 1949 she and husband Irving Jaffe moved to Washington, D.C. where she attended the Phillips Art School. Later that same year, they moved to Paris. The Jaffes returned to New York briefly in the early 1950s, but moved back to Paris in 1953, where Shirley Jaffe has been living and working ever since. She was married to Irving Jaffe until 1962.
Jaffe started her career as an abstract expressionist but began to work in a flat and geometric style in the late 1960s. She was part of the American expatriate art scene in Paris and associated with Joan Mitchell, Jean-Paul Riopelle, Sam Francis, Kimber Smith, and others. In 1963, Jaffe received a grant from the Ford Foundation to spend a year working in Berlin.
Jaffe took on several commissions in France including illustrations, murals, and notably, the design of stained glass windows in the Chapelle Saint-Jean-l'Evangéliste in Perpignan, titled Funéraria. Her paintings have been exhibited in New York at the Holly Solomon Gallery and the Tibor de Nagy Gallery, and at galleries and museums throughout France.

Administration
Processing Information
The collection was processed to a minimal level and a finding aid prepared by Hilary Price in 2015. Born-digital materials were processed in 2019 by Kirsi Ritosalmi-Kisner with funding provided by Smithsonian Collection Care and Preservation Fund.
Author
Hilary Price
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The Shirley Jaffe papers were donated to the Archives of American Art by Shirley Jaffe in 2014.

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing 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.
Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice.
Conditions Governing Use
The Shirley Jaffe papers are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.
Preferred Citation
Shirley Jaffe papers, 1950s-2011. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

Related Materials
Also found in the Archives of American Art is an oral history interview with Shirley Jaffe conducted by Avis Berman, September 27-28, 2010.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Sketches Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Video recordings Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sketchbooks Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Diaries Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photographs Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Interviews Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Painters -- France -- Paris Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Women artists -- France -- Paris Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Expatriate artists -- France Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sugarman, George, 1912-1999 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Stone, Sylvia, 1928- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Smith, Kimber, 1922-1981 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Rivers, Larry, 1925-2002 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Ford, Hermine Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Held, Al, 1928- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Francis, Sam, 1923-1994 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Mitchell, Joan, 1926-1992 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Nochlin, Linda Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Jenkins, Paul, 1923-2012 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Kushner, Robert, 1949- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Archives of American Art
750 9th Street, NW
Victor Building, Suite 2200
Washington, D.C. 20001
https://www.aaa.si.edu/services/questions
https://www.aaa.si.edu/