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Shirley Jaffe

Cut in Square

January 17 – February 16, 2020

Shirley Jaffe Swinging (2), 2016
Shirley Jaffe Splitting Yellow, 2016
Shirley Jaffe Birds, 2009
Shirley Jaffe Bande Dessinee en Noir et Blanc, 2009
Shirley Jaffe Cut in Square, 1986
Shirley Jaffe
Shirley Jaffe
Shirley Jaffe
Shirley Jaffe

Press Release

Tibor de Nagy is pleased to present Shirley Jaffe Cut in Square, an exhibition of paintings and works on paper. The exhibition gathers a select group of works, from private collections and the artist’s estate, in order to concisely showcase a presentation of the artist working at the height of her powers. It brings together classic examples from four different decades including The Chinese Mountain (pictured above) from 2004-2005 and two paintings Splitting Yellow and Swinging (2) completed the year of her death in 2016, as well as a drawing from 1996. The show will be the artist’s seventh with the gallery.

Jaffe’s works come out of what she saw day to day in her longtime adopted home of Paris. This vision is translated ultimately into colorful shapes and calligraphic lines, set against generous white grounds. Her process usually entailed many months of struggle, however, once she locked into the composition, the seamless matte surfaces of the paintings show no signs of their evolution. The antecedent and underlying wrestling, while subdued, can still feel evident in that she brings things at odds with each other together. As her friend Linda Nochlin described it: “Discord, dislocation, disjunction, coloristic dissonance - all these terms have been used to define the precise quality of Jaffe’s abstract deviation from the norm, her serious play on the borderline of chaos, her search for formal autonomy.”

Shirley Jaffe was born in New Jersey in 1923 and lived in Paris from 1949 until her death in 2016. In Paris, she established herself among a circle of ex-pat American artists. She exhibited frequently in both Europe and New York starting in the 1960s. She had numerous exhibitions at Galerie Jean Fournier, Paris where she showed alongside James Bishop, Sam Francis, Joan Mitchell, Jean-Paul Riopelle and Kimber Smith. In New York she exhibited at Holly Solomon Gallery in the 1990s and with Tibor de Nagy since 2002. Jaffe was recently included in the group exhibitions The Long Run at The Museum of Modern Art in 2017, curated by Paulina Pobocha and Cara Manes and in the Florence and Daniel Guerlain Donation at the Centre Pompidou in 2013. A solo exhibition, Hommage à Shirley Jaffe was held in 2017 at the FRAC Bretange, Pontivy, France. Jaffe’s work is in the permanent collections of the Centre Pompidou, Foundation Cartier, Musée de la Ville de Paris, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and The Museum of Modern Art, New York among many others.