Yousuf Karsh

Armenian, 1908–2002

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Biography

In his compassionate, elegant portraits of the leading figures of the 20th century—among them Pablo Picasso, Georgia O’Keeffe, Winston Churchill, Audrey Hepburn, Jackie Kennedy, Muhammad Ali, and Albert Einstein—photographer Yousuf Karsh captured both the private personality and public persona of his sitters. By carefully posing and sensitively lighting his subjects, Karsh strived to highlight distinctive features that would convey a sense of their individuality and inner life. The decisive moment for him—and the moment when he would release the camera’s shutter—was when his subject’s public mask was lifted, if only fleetingly. As he wrote: “The endless fascination of these people for me lies in what I call their inward power. It is part of the elusive secret that hides in everyone, and it has been my life’s work to try to capture it on film.”

Career Highlights
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Established
Established representation
Represented by industry leading galleries.
User
Solo show at a major institution
National Portrait Gallery - London, and 1 more
Group
Group show at a major institution
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and 3 more
Institution
Collected by a major institution
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)