Karsh Signature

Yousuf Karsh, master photographer of the 20th century

Pablo Picasso

Pablo Picasso, 1954

We lost Pablo Picasso on this day, April 8, in 1973. Born in 1881, he is widely considered to be one of the greatest figures in 20th century art.

Karsh’s story of photographing Picasso is a particularly colorful one:

The maestro’s villa was a photographer’s nightmare, with his boisterous children bicycling through vast rooms already crowded with canvases. I eagerly accepted Picasso’s alternate suggestion to meet later in Vallauris at his ceramic gallery. ‘He will never be here,’ the gallery owner commented, when my assistant and two hundred pounds of equipment arrived. ‘He says the same thing to every photographer.’ To everyone’s amazement, the ‘old lion’ not only kept his photographic appointment with me but was prompt and wore a new shirt. He could partially view himself in my large format lens and intuitively moved to complete the composition.

See more Karsh portraits of Picasso.