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Yousuf Karsh

 
Winston Churchill

Yousuf Karsh was born in Armenia in 1908.
He was brought to Canada in 1924 by his uncle, who was a photographer.
He resided in Ottawa and in Boston.
Yousuf Karsh passed away in 2002.

Known for:
Portraiture of famous people from 1940s to 1990s, including heads of state, movie stars, scientists, and artists.

Most Popular Images:
Archetypal portraits of Winston Churchill, Georgia O'Keeffe, Ernest Hemingway, Albert Einstein, Pablo Picasso, Pablo Casals, Joan Miro, and many others.

Did you know ... ?
• As a young man, Karsh studied with "Garo", a famous Boston portrait photographer.
• When Karsh photographed, he spent many hours visiting with and talking to his portrait subjects before engaging the camera.
• Karsh closed his studio in 1991. His last photographs included Nelson Mandela and President Clinton.

Quote:
On photographing his famous subjects, Karsh writes: "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."

General Format:
Silver gelatin in Standard size 16" x 20" and Portfolio size 20" x 24".
The 30" X 40" size is rare. Ernest Hemingway, and Ronald Reagan are currently available.
His early work from the 1950s and early '60s are 8" X 10" and 11" x 14".

How many photographs exist?
The 16" x 20" size is in an open edition. Generally, less than 100 of each image exist, except for a select few -Winston Churchill and Georgia O'Keefe - which are in quantities of 500 - 850. The 20" x 24" size is in an edition of 100 and uniquely reserved for the portfolio KARSH, created in 1981. Karsh stopped printing in 1991.

Prices:
16" x 20" , 20" x 24" $2,500 - $15,000
"30 x 40" $20,000 - $45,000


View Yousuf Karsh's Photographs

How are the photographs printed and signed?
Karsh printed in the darkroom with assistants. His photographs are signed in black ink on mount au recto (front), usually imprinted with a studio stamp au verso (back), and mounted to 100% rag board. Some earlier prints were signed in white ink on the photo.

Vintage:
Vintage images are rare, but generally include 8" x 10" and 11" x 14" sizes. Vintage means that the print date is at or near the same time as the negative date.

Technical Information:
Karsh used an 8" X 10" large format camera and studio lighting to capture images of his famous subjects.

Portfolios:
KARSH, a portfolio of fifteen 20" x 24" photographs, is occasionally available in an edition of 100.

Books - In Print:
Karsh: A Sixty Year Retrospective, hardcover Sold Out

Availability:
A Gallery for Fine Photography has a very large selection of original portraits by Karsh.

Price History:
1976: $350 - $500
1986: $1,000 - $2,500
1996: $2,000 - $16,000
1999: $3,500 - $45,000


Georgia O'Keeffe

Authenticity is guaranteed. Prices and availability are subject to change without prior notice.

 

 

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