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Yousuf Karsh: The Ford Motor Company of Canada Gift to the AGW

January 25, 2014 - April 6, 2014

AWE Gallery

In 2013, the Ford Motor Company of Canada donated 39 works to the AGW by renowned photographer Yousuf Karsh. This exhibition is a selection from this gift, focusing on Karsh’s large-format prints through which we can understand his working process. This collection is an important body of work from his 1951 Ford commission to interpret the daily life of workers at the Windsor plants.

The donation marks the culmination of a long-standing relationship between the AGW and Ford, which began during the course of research for Ford City/Windsor (1994). Interest in the collection continued with Cassandra Getty, former AGW Historical Curator and Collections Manager. Her research led to the Gallery developing Yousuf Karsh: Industrial Images, a major touring exhibition and book during 2004-10, which emphasized his contribution to 20th century portrait photography and the significance of this body of work to Windsor’s labour history.

The Karsh collection boasts rich potential in its capacity to speak to histories of photography, portraiture, an artist’s economic means of livelihood and the gendered history of the labour force. It also makes an important contribution to the Gallery’s historical collections of mid-century photography. Thanks to the Ford Motor Company of Canada for choosing the AGW as home for this collection, where it will be among the works of contemporary photographers such as Edward Burtynsky, Raphael Goldchain and Stan Douglas. After a four-year moratorium on collections development, the AGW welcomes re-engagement in this important core function with the acquisition of this stimulating collection.

Co-curated by Cassandra Getty and Catharine Mastin

See Ted Shaw’s Dec. 12, 2013 Windsor Star article Karsh photos donated to AGW

Watch Tourism Windsor’s Yousuf Karsh promotional video

Read Karsh exhibit captures Ford City heyday in from Jan. 31, 2014: 

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