Karsh Signature

Yousuf Karsh, master photographer of the 20th century

Nikita Khrushchev

Nikita Khrushchev, 1963

Nikita Khrushchev died on this day, September 11, in 1971, aged 77.

Karsh photographed Khrushchev on April 21, 1963 in Moscow, USSR. Mr. and Mrs. Karsh travelled to Moscow for two months that year, and photographed many subjects, including ballerinas, cosmonauts, composers, authors, and even a puppeteer. Click here to see the full list of Moscow Sittings.

Mrs. Estrellita Karsh and Madame Nina Khrushchev got on famously and Mrs. Karsh still speaks admiringly of her today. Their son, Dr. Sergei Khrushchev, recalls meeting the Karshes in 1963, and as an author of several books about his father, we have worked with him to ensure this portrait above be included.

Yousuf and Estrellita with Nikita and Nina Khrushchev at their dacha in Moscow, 1963

From Mr. Karsh’s recollections:

Nikita Sergevevich Khrushchev
Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the USSR (1958-1964)
April 28, 1963

As I saw Khrushchev walking from his home toward where foreigners are received, I said to myself, “This figure would look more impressive if we had a very big fur coat.” I had made my desire known… and the answer was definitely no, it was April and there was no fur coat available. So after working, I switched the light off and I addressed myself to the Chairman of the USSR. I said, “Mr. Khrushchev, I would like the biggest fur coat in Russia possible to photograph you in.” And to my delight, he gave the go-ahead signal and within half an hour after that a big fur coat was produced. And the moment Mrs. Khrushchev saw this diminutive fellow carrying this coat on his arm she said, “Oh, that fur coat. That fur coat was reserved for Prime Minister Macmillan of England to go with my husband tobogganing so in case the Prime Minister falls, he will not hurt himself.”