Karsh Regarding Heroes

April 2 — June 15, 2011

About the Exhibition

Yousuf Karsh, Winston Churchill © Estate of Yousuf Karsh
Yousuf Karsh (1908-2002) is one of the world's greatest portrait photographers; no one else has photographed so many men and women of international renown. To be "Karshed" is a mark of accomplishment. This exhibition was created as a retrospective marking the 2008 centenary of Yousuf Karsh's birth and includes 100 portraits from a collection of master prints donated to the Art Institute of Chicago by Karsh's widow, Estrellita Karsh. The prints are considered Karsh's favourites and are presented together for the first time ever.

What makes the portraits Karsh’s favourites
are their ability to capture each iconic
personality in that rare moment when the
mask of celebrity was dropped to reveal the person’s true inner personality. Karsh’s images are approachable by anyone, regardless of language or culture, and through these portraits we are able to rediscover eminent personalities of the past 100 years.

Karsh's personal recollections of each portrait sitting inform our understanding of each icon. The serene Audrey Hepburn regaled Karsh with her experiences of the Second World War, and Winston Churchill told Karsh "You can even make a roaring lion stand still to be photographed."

Surrounded in a gallery by these expertly crafted photographs, one feels present at a marvellous party attended by history's most famous people. Karsh makes these world renowned people engaging in a way unimaginable – he provides the viewer with the masterful illusion that he knows each icon in an intimate way. Thus he reveals the inner humanism of such icons as Walt Disney, Fidel Castro and Jacqueline Kennedy.


Karsh's History: PlacesYousuf Karsh offers insights into history, politics and women through the ages. Look at the links below for PDF handouts related to these subjects.

Karsh's History: Places PDF [243 K]
Karsh's History: Politics PDF [228 K]        
Karsh's History: Women PDF [207 K]




Visit the Library and Archives Canada link here to see their collection of Karsh material.

Karsh in the Classroom, click here for Learning Resources from Festival Karsh.
This was an anniversary celebrating 100 years since Karsh's birth that was held in Ottawa. It featured a major exhibition Karsh: Image Maker and The Karsh Trail, a self-directed walking tour.



Download a Windows Media Audio stream via CBC Digital Archives from Expo 67 as Yousuf Karsh takes listeners on a tour through his portraits at the pavilion there.
Expodition: The incomparable Karsh WMA file icon Duration [3:39]

CBC Homestretch host Ken Lima-Coelho talks to Curator Colleen Sharpe about the Glenbow Museum exhibit Yousuf Karsh: Regarding Heroes. Listen to the Homestretch piece by clicking the link here.
[Duration 6:30]

Photographer George Webber speaks with host Ken Lima-Coelho about Karsh's Audrey Hepburn image. To listen to the CBC Homestretch piece click this link.
Duration [7:05]

Glenbow Shop

Karsh: Regarding Heroes, Poster from the Glenbow ShopThe Glenbow Museum Shop is offering a limited edition Karsh: Regarding Heroes poster. 

200 Available
Size:  16" X 22"

Features:  4   Photos ( Black & White)

Price:  $19.95

Enlarge Image


Beyond our Walls

Click here to visit the Karsh estate website.

Festival Karsh logoIn 2009 Ottawa celebrated the 100th anniversary of Yousuf Karsh. This was a city-wide celebration of his birth included a major exhbition Karsh: Image Maker and included the Karsh Trail, a walking tour of sites related to Karsh around downtown Ottawa.

Vistit the Festival Karsh site by clicking here.



Karsh is on Canada Post stamps! See what they look like by clicking here.

Further Reading

There is lots of material on Yousuf Karsh, take our own Glenbow Museum Library, it has the following collection:

Organized by The Art Institute of Chicago and curated by David Travis, Former Chair and Curator of Photography at The Art Institute of Chicago, and toured by Curatorial Assistance Traveling Exhibitions, Pasadena, California.

Supported by:                  Supported by:                 

  FMC Law

       Fast Forward Weekly

130 9th Ave S.E.
Calgary, AB T2G 0P3

Monday: Closed
Tuesday - Thursday: 9am - 5pm
Friday: 9am - 8pm
Saturday: 9am - 5pm
Sunday: 12pm - 5pm


Help more people experience art and culture at Glenbow.

Donate Now

Glenbow - Alberta Institute
Charitable Registration Number
107435695 RR0001


Sign up to receive Glenbow news and updates.


© Glenbow, 130 - 9th Avenue S.E., Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2G 0P3 - www.glenbow.org