Matisse Museum in Nice: Shirley Jaffe Exhibition

Shirley Jaffe (1923-2016) is a reference in abstract painting at the turn of thetwentieth and twenty-firstcenturies. She studied in New York and Washington, D.C., which she left for Paris in 1949. A stroke of history and a spirit of contradiction are expressed when she claims to have discovered Bonnard in New York and Pollock in Paris. Close to the North American artists Jules Olitski, Al Held, Jean-Paul Riopelle, Sam Francis, expatriates like her after the war, she sublet Louise Bourgeois’ studio and maintained a stimulating emulation with Joan Mitchell. In 1969, she moved to 8, rue Saint-Victor in Paris, where many artists visited her and where she painted until her last days.

This is the second time that the Matisse Museum in Nice has paid tribute to the work of Shirley Jaffe. In 1994, the artist exhibited his recent paintings there. Today, the exhibition presents works from her entire career: her early Abstract Expressionists, followed by two radical ruptures leading her to abandon gesturality at the end of the 1960s in favor of compositions structured by geometric shapes of bright and contrasting colors, and then, from the 1980s onwards, to use the potential of white to create tension in monochromatic color patterns. The comparison has always been made between the American’s mature paintings and Henri Matisse’s last works in gouache paper cut-outs. Jaffe, however, did not like to talk about it. However, we now know that the exhibition of Matisse’s paper cut-outs presented at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris in 1961 had a profound influence on him.

Shirley Jaffe. Before and after Matisse 2023

Spread throughout the museum’s visit, this exhibition aims to make Jaffe’s work resonate with that of Matisse.

Shirley Jaffe. Before and after Matisse 2023

Go to the Matisse Museum website for more information

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