The Artists We Lost in 2016
Shirley Jaffe’s colorful geometric abstractions are full of associations inspired by her adopted hometown of Paris. Jaffe’s careful compositions recall the flat-yet-fluid figure-ground relationships and stripped-down forms characteristic of Henri Matisse, as in Four Squares Black (1993). With their geometric flat forms, lines, and amorphous shapes, her paintings have also invited comparisons to Fernand Léger’s circuses and Piet Mondrian’s Neoplasticism. Prior to the late 1960s, Jaffe painted in a gestural style, but abandoned it fearing she was “destroying the essence of what we would call gesture” by reworking it until it was no longer pure.
American, 1923-2016, New Jersey, based in Paris, France