Yousuf Karsh - Photographs New York Wednesday, April 1, 2009 | Phillips
  • Provenance

    Acquired from the artist's studio

  • Catalogue Essay

    The Spanish Catalan cellist Pablo Casals (1876-1973) was one of the world’s greatest and best known musicians and human rights activists of the 20th century. In 1899, he played for Queen Victoria at London’s Crystal Palace and, in 1904, he played at the White House for President Theodore Roosevelt. A vocal supporter of the Spanish Republic, Casals went into exile after Generalissimo Francisco Franco took over the country in 1939. Casals was never, in fact, to return. Refusing to perform in any country that recognized Spain, he made one exception in 1961, performing for President and Mrs. John F. Kennedy and their guests at a State dinner for Governor Luis Muñoz Marin of Puerto Rico at the White House. Although he admired President Kennedy, he declined to stay for the dinner as to not give the impression of compromising his stand against the Fascist regime. This iconic portrait by Karsh was taken in 1954 at the Abbey de St. Michel de Cuxa in the French Midi-Pyrenees is where Casals founded a music festival that continues to this day. “I have never photographed anyone, before or since, with his back turned to the camera, but it seemed to me just right…the bare room conveys the loneliness of the artist, at the pinnacle of his art and also the loneliness of exile,” Karsh later commented.


Pablo Casals

Gelatin silver print, printed later.
19 3/4 x 15 7/8 in. (50.2 x 40.3 cm).
Signed in ink on the mount; titled in pencil and credit stamp on the reverse of the mount. 

$7,000 - 9,000 


1 April 2009, 10am & 2pm
New York