BOSTON.- Estrellita Karsh, wife of the renowned portrait photographer Yousuf Karsh, was honored this evening with an award for her service to Canada during the opening reception for Karsh 100: A Biography in Images at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA). The awarda flag that has flown above Canadas Parliament building in Ottawa, along with a citation recognizing Mrs. Karshs accomplishmentswas presented by the Honourable Neil Le Blanc, Consul General of Canada in Boston, exhibition supporter of Karsh 100. The award symbolizes Canadas appreciation for Mrs. Karshs many philanthropic works.
Tonight, on behalf of the Government of Canada, I would like to present you with a token of our gratitude for your work in the community. I hope that it also serves as a reminder that when you arrive back in Canada from your travels, that we are so pleased to welcome you home, said the Honourable Neil Le Blanc.
Among her many meaningful projects, Mrs. Karsh has endowed the emergency department of Childrens Hospital of Eastern Ontario, where she also endowed the Estrellita and Yousuf Karsh Visiting Professorship in Pediatrics. In addition, she will present next year to the City of Ottawa a gift of 10 of her husbands famous photographs.
The ceremony was attended by hundreds of guests during a reception this evening marking the opening of Karsh 100, an exhibition at the MFA that serves as a visual biography of Mrs. Karshs late husband, Yousuf Karsh (19082002), the most sought-after portrait photographer of the 20th century. The exhibition, celebrating the 100th anniversary of Karshs birth, features more than 100 works, including iconic portraits of the eras most famous faces alongside rarely seen early photographs.
Estrellita Karsh has been a great friend to the MFA and has generously given her time and talents to so many important endeavors, from overseeing her husbands legacy and furthering the arts, to improving the quality of life for those seeking medical treatment. It is gratifying to see her great humanity honored by the Canadian government in this special way, said Malcolm Rogers, Ann and Graham Gund Director of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
The Karshes gave a collection of 199 iconic photographs to the MFA between 199698, and established the Karsh Lectureship in Photography at the MFA and the Karsh Prize for Photography at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts. In addition, Mrs. Karsh generously endowed two curatorial positions at the MFA, and gave a collection of her husbands photographs to the Boston Public Library. She also has donated many of Karshs photographs to Brigham and Womens Hospital (BWH) in Boston, where she conceived and organized in 2005 the Bridge of Hope mural project, which created an inspirational passageway for patients, staff, and visitors, transforming the corridor between BWH and Dana-Farber Cancer Center.
Mr. and Mrs. Karsh were longtime residents of Ottawa, where they lived until 1997. They subsequently moved to Boston, Karshs spiritual home, where he studied photography in the 1920s. Karsh died in Boston on July 13, 2002, leaving behind a legacy as one of the 20th centurys most influential figures.