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Image of Marian Anderson

Yousuf Karsh
Canadian, born Armenia, 1908–2002
Yousuf Karsh
Canadian, born Armenia, 1908–2002

Marian Anderson


Object Type: Photograph
20 in. x 16 in. (50.8 cm x 40.64 cm)
Medium and Support: Gelatin silver print on paper
Accession Number: 2013.0005.0001

Credit Line: Gift of Estrellita Karsh, in honor of Mark M. Johnson, and in memory of Yousuf Karsh
Copyright: © Estate of Yousuf Karsh

Marian Anderson (1897–1993)

Karsh photographed the contralto at her home near the peak of her career and popularity. In 1939 she had performed an Easter concert at the Lincoln Memorial for 75,000 people and a national radio audience because she had been denied the use of Constitution Hall, then the premier performance facility in the segregated capital city. After several photographs that were unsatisfactory, Anderson’s accompanist arrived for a rehearsal. Karsh secretly asked him to play very softly one of Anderson’s favorite songs. When she began humming, Karsh captured her quiet, thoughtful, peaceful character.

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