97. Doris Yokelson

Life Datesborn 1930
Place of BirthBrooklyn, NY, USA
Birth NameDoris Yokelson

Doris Yokelson was born in Brooklyn, New York, the daughter of a Jewish immigrant who had fled religious pogroms in Russia at the turn of the century.1 As a young girl, she discovered the wonders of museums in New York City through free admission and admits she “lived” at the Museum of Modern Art, where she saw work by Josef Albers and Marcel Duchamp. Between 1947 and 1951, Yokelson attended Syracuse University where she majored in art and took coursework in lithography and intaglio. After graduation, she returned to New York City along with a few classmates—including friend and fellow Atelier 17 member Lois Hall DeLuca—to explore the arts scene.2 By day, she worked at an advertising agency and eventually a direct mail company. By night, she did a lot of “hanging out” in Greenwich Village hot spots like the White Horse Tavern and Minetta Tavern. She became a member of Atelier 17, definitely by spring of 1952, if not sooner.3 By the summer of 1954, Yokelson had saved enough money to travel to Europe on a Liberty ship. She intended to stay a few months, but ended up staying four years, visiting Edinburgh, London, Florence, and finally Germany, where she worked in a pottery studio. Yokelson still has a studio and paints often.


  1. Unless otherwise cited, all biographical information comes from a telephone conversation between Doris Yokelson and Christina Weyl, October 15, 2016.
  2. Yokelson’s friends included Caroline Karpinski, who was a curator in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Department of Prints.
  3. Student ledger book, p. 41, Allentown Art Museum/Grippe Collection, Allentown, Penn. The ledger records that Yokelson paid tuition for Spring 1952, but only attended in February and March. She missed April and May and made up the two months in the fall. Yokelson does not recall knowing Peter Grippe and believes she was working at Atelier 17 earlier than this ledger book suggests. It is possible she was attending courses under Jim Kleege’s tenure in Fall 1951, a time for which no workshop records exist. She and Lois Hall DeLuca also both have strong memories of working at Atelier 17 when Hayter was around.