In Memory of Yousuf Karsh - Communiqué - News & Events - Library and Archives Canada
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Yousuf Karsh (1908-2002)

Yousuf Karsh (1908-2002)
Self-portrait, Ottawa, February 10, 1970

It is with sadness that the National Archives of Canada and the Portrait Gallery of Canada acknowledge the death of Yousuf Karsh.

Arriving as a young immigrant in 1924, Yousuf Karsh made Canada his home while he developed a world-renowned career in portrait photography. His national reputation had already been secured by 1941 when he took the famous image of Winston Churchill following his address to the joint Houses of Parliament in Canada. This image, possibly the most reproduced photographic portrait in history, was followed by over five decades of productive work. Karsh travelled throughout Canada and the world to capture such diverse faces and personalities as those of Albert Einstein, Jean-Paul Riopelle, Stephen Leacock, the crew of Apollo 11, Fidel Castro, Martin Luther King Jr., Brigitte Bardot and the British Royal Family. His work has been extensively reproduced, exhibited and admired; it has never been successfully imitated.

The National Archives of Canada is proud to preserve the Yousuf Karsh fonds, documenting the entire span of his studio's existence, and including over 300,000 items, representing photographic negatives, prints and transparencies as well as his business manuscripts and some audio-visual material.

In lieu of flowers, the Karsh family has requested that donations be made to either the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario or the National Archives of Canada, Attention the Portrait Gallery of Canada, 344 Wellington Street, Ottawa, Ontario  K1A 0N3.