Shirley Goldfarb (1925 – 1980) was an American painter best known for her monumental Abstract Expressionist paintings of the 1950s and 1960s and her gridded pallet knife paintings of the 1970s and 1980s. She first studied art at the Art Students League in New York in 1949 where she frequented the storied cedar bar and had befriended Jackson Pollock. In 1954 she moved to Paris with her husband Gregory Masurovsky on the GI Bill. It was here that she came into her own as an artist. She diffused the painterly action of Abstract Expressionism with a sense of light and color owed to her adoptive city.
Thriving in a social milieu that encouraged eccentricity and flair, she created a new artistic persona and became a fixture of Paris’ community of artists, writers, filmmakers, and intellectuals. She formed friendships with Americans Joan Mitchell, Sam Francis and the surrealist artists Alberto Giacometti, Man Ray, and Max Ernst. While many of her contemporaries returned to New York, Goldfarb and her husband remained in Paris becoming long term fixtures in the community. She was represented in both Paris and New York throughout her life by friend and renowned gallerist Virginia Zabriskie. In the 1970s she became close with Andy Warhol and with David Hockney who painted her portrait, now in the collection of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
In 2000 her personal journals were adapted into the one-woman play Shirley which won a Moliere award for best actress. She was also the subject of a documentary An American in Paris by Kaye Morley on RTI Radio. Her work is in a number of important public collections including the Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris, Fonds National d’Art Contemporain, Paris,Kunsthalle, Bale, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, The National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C. the Georges Pompidou Center, the Minneapolis Institute of Art and the Musee d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris.