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Yousuf Karsh portraits to go on display at Dayton Art Institution

PanARMENIAN.Net – This weekend, the Dayton Art Institution unveils its latest special exhibition: “Yousuf Karsh: American Portraits”, Springfield News-Sun reports.

On loan from the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, the exhibit showcases 48 photographs by one of the most renowned portrait photographers and features Americans who have distinguished themselves in fields ranging from business and medicine to entertainment, politics and the arts. Portraits include writer Ernest Hemingway; artists Georgia O’Keeffe and Andy Warhol; actors Ingrid Bergman and Humphrey Bogart; athletes Muhammad Ali and Jackie Robinson; business leaders Elizabeth Arden and Warren Buffett; architects Frank Lloyd Wright and I. M. Pei; first ladies Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Eleanor Roosevelt; and entertainment giants Walt Disney and Jim Henson.

Karsh, who grew up in Armenia during the Genocide, fled to Canada in 1924 at the age of 16 where he lived with an uncle who was an established professional photographer. After an apprenticeship with Boston portrait photographer John H. Garo, Karsh returned to Canada in 1932 where he opened a portrait studio in Ottawa. The phenomenal success of his 1941 portrait of Winston Churchill, to be displayed in the exhibition, launched Karsh’s international career. He died in 2002.

In the introduction to his 50-year retrospective, Karsh 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. The mask we present to others and, too often, to ourselves, may lift for only a second — to reveal that power in an unconscious gesture, a raised brow, a surprised response, a moment of repose. This is the moment to record.”

The traveling exhibit — first displayed in Washington, D.C., in 2013-14 — was organized by Ann M. Shumard, senior curator of photographs at the National Portrait Gallery.


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