Ernest Hemingway © Yousuf Karsh 1957
Winston Churchill © Yousuf Karsh 1941

Haynes Galleries Presents a Collection of Extraordinary Portraits by Yousuf Karsh.


KARSH Exhibition Featuring Large Format And Vintage Silver Gelatin Prints Opening Reception, September 3, 2010, 6-9PM

THOMASTON, Maine – One of the most important portrait photographers of the 20th Century, Yousuf Karsh reveals the sometimes-veiled character of his famous sitters – often times through the element of surprise. Best known for his grumpy Churchill portrait, Karsh’s photography exemplifies a remarkable talent for capturing not only an intimate moment with the subject, but the essence of a personality as well.

“There is a brief moment when all there is in a mans mind and soul and spirit is reflected through his eyes, his hands, his attitude. This is the moment to record” -Yousuf Karsh

The Churchill photograph catapulted the young artist into international fame when it was published in Life magazine and has since become one of the most widely reproduced photographs of all times. Karsh photographed hundreds of influential and famous people during his lifetime. Important 20th Century figures, artists, athletes, thinkers, writers, philosophers, musicians, actors, and composers were said to be “Karshed”, which meant that they had reached celebrity status.

Karsh is known to have carefully researched each sitter as part of his “homework” before each photography session. He felt it necessary to know about each of his sitters to help him better understand them. Amused that he did not always have a clear understanding of his research results, Karsh mused that during his research on Ernest Hemingway, he inquire about the writer’s preferred drink with a his favorite Havana eating establishment. The following morning when Hemingway asked Karsh if he would like something to drink, Karsh requested the writer’s favorite drink, a daiquiri. To that, Hemingway remonstrated “at this hour of the day!”

Although a master at studio lighting, Karsh often went onsite to photograph his sitters. When Pablo Picasso told Karsh to meet him at his ceramic gallery, Picasso’s ceramic dealer told him not to expect the artist to show up. Karsh commented that the “old lion” not only kept his appointment but wore a new shirt. Picasso moved instinctively into position next to the vase, and Karsh snapped the photograph.

Artist Joan Miro was described as looking like a banker on holiday when he arrived for his photo shoot. Karsh said that it was only when he suggested that the painter don his work clothes that the artist’s playful expressions appeared that he captured in the photo.

Karsh became an artistic icon during his life and truly remains as one of the most influential artists of all time. He went on to win numerous awards and publish fifteen books of his work. His photographs can be found in such collections as the Art Institute of Chicago, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the International Museum of Photography. In 2000, Karsh was named as one of the 100 most notable people of the century by the International Who’s Who.

The KARSH exhibit features fifteen large scale portraits as well as vintage photographs by the artist. Included in this exhibit are portraits of artists Pablo Picasso, Georgia O’Keeffe, Joan Miro, and Marc Chagall and Finnish composer Jean Sibelius and the Spanish Cellist Pablo Casals. Some of the greatest thinkers of the 20th Century such as Albert Einstein, Albert Schweitzer, Helen Keller with Polly Thompson, and Jacque Couseteau and writers Ernest Hemingway, George Bernard Shaw and Robert Frost are also included in the exhibit. And finally, “The Greatest” himself, Muhammad Ali, will be on display through the end of September.

Haynes Galleries will host an opening reception on Friday, September 3rd at 91 Main Street in Thomaston, Maine from 6-9PM. Both the exhibit and the reception are open to the public free of charge. The exhibit runs through October 1, 2010. For more information about this exhibit or to schedule a private viewing, please contact Haynes Galleries.