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Image of Paul Robeson

Yousuf Karsh
Canadian, born Armenia, 1908–2002

Paul Robeson


Object Type: Photograph
19 3/4 in. x 15 13/16 in. (50.17 cm x 40.16 cm)
Medium and Support: Gelatin silver print on paper
Accession Number: 1996.0005.0009

Credit Line: Gifted to the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts by the artist in honor of Museum Director, Mark M. Johnson
Copyright: © Estate of Yousuf Karsh

Paul Robeson (1898–1976) An actor and concert singer, Robeson was a star athlete, a member of Phi Beta Kappa, and first in his class at Rutgers in 1919. In 1923 he graduated from Columbia University Law School, and in the mid-twenties he began acting and singing professionally to widespread acclaim. He performed all over the world and used his celebrity status to campaign for social justice. In this portrait the shadows in the background and the glint of light that plays upon the features of Robeson’s face give him a somber yet almost defiant quality.

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