The Ford Motor Company of Canada, Limited — Ford Motor Company’s Canadian division — recently gifted 39 unique photographic works to the Art Gallery of Windsor (AGW). The works in question were captured by celebrated photographer Yousuf Karsh following a visit to Ford’s Windsor plant in February 1951, with the resulting imagines including a series of portraits of plant employees working on the assembly line, in the foundry, and at the trade school.
Born in Mardin, Armenia in 1908, Yousuf Karsh is one of Canada’s best-known artists of the twentieth century. He is especially well-known for his iconic images of Winston Churchill, Albert Einstein, Ernest Hemingway, and many other heads of state and government, as well as celebrities. His industrial collections, however, have historically received less attention.
“The industrial projects of Yousuf Karsh have been little-studied, yet were surprisingly a substantial part of his career”, commented former AGW Curator Cassandra Getty. “They document important aspects of Canadian history and national life, with a focus on the City of Windsor and industry.”
Arrived in Canada in 1924, Karsh maintained a studio in Ottowa for more than six decades while garnering a dozen Honorary Doctorates from universities in Canada and the United States, Companion to the Order of Canada, and numerous professional photography awards. His exhibition history includes showing at the World’s Fair in Montreal in 1967 and at the National Portrait Gallery in London, England. Karsh passed away on July 13, 2002 in Boston, Massachusetts.
“Yousuf Karsh’s work helps to demonstrate the proud legacy Ford of Canada has in Windsor – a commitment to quality, involvement in the community, and a dedication to our workforce. This is a gift to Windsor and a celebration of a special era of our everyday heroes captured by a true master,” said Dianne Craig, president and CEO, Ford of Canada.
Starting January 25 and running through April 6, 2014, the AGW will organize an exhibition of selected works from Karsh’s Windsor plant tour. Location details and contact information are as follows:
The Art Gallery of Windsor
401 Riverside Drive West