Karsh Masterworks - A Tribute - News & Events - Library and Archives Canada
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Exhibition opens in Ottawa and on the Web

Ottawa, September 17, 2002

Karsh Masterworks—A Tribute, produced by the National Archives of Canada, the Portrait Gallery of Canada and the National Library of Canada, celebrates the life of Yousuf Karsh and presents a selection of his works—the lasting legacy of the world-famous portrait photographer. Arriving in Canada as an Armenian immigrant in 1924, he became "Karsh of Ottawa," capturing memorable images of the leading figures of the 20th century. The exhibition is on view from September 18 to November 3 at the National Archives and the National Library building, 395 Wellington Street, Ottawa, and from September 18 on the National Archives Web site.

The portraits in the exhibition show the wide range of personalities who trusted Karsh to bring out what he called their "inward power"—Glenn Gould and Einstein, Churchill and Joan Crawford, Kenojuak and Pope Pius XII, to name but a few. The exhibition also provides the opportunity to see examples of Karsh's early photographic experiments, of portraits of people whose names are not well known, and of some of his commercial and industrial assignments, as well as books of his work and a selected bibliography.

"His acute perception of greatness in others has left a lasting legacy to the people of Canada," said Canadian Heritage Minister Sheila Copps. "His memorable images have become icons of our time."

"The National Archives is honoured to hold in trust for all Canadians, the complete Karsh Collection — more than 300,000 negatives and prints — an incomparable resource," said National Archivist Ian E. Wilson. "He has captured and communicated the essence of his subjects to us."

"This exhibition clearly illustrates Karsh's stature as a great artist and a great Canadian," said Roch Carrier, National Librarian. "The National Library of Canada is proud to participate in this homage to a master."

Yousuf Karsh, a complementary exhibition of Karsh's photographic equipment is on view at the Canada Science and Technology Museum, 1867 St. Laurent Boulevard, Ottawa, until November 10.

Karsh Masterworks—A Tribute is open daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. at 395 Wellington Street, Ottawa from
September 18 to November 3, 2002. Admission is free. For general enquiries call 996-5115 or 1-866-578-777.

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For more information please contact:


Michal Anne Crawley
National Archives of Canada
Telephone: (613) 992-9361

Pauline Portelance
National Library of Canada
Telephone: (613) 996-6128