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Ida Kar: Portraits of F.N. Souza - Grosvenor Vadehra

Exhibition preview

TO COINCIDE with a major retrospective of photographs by Ida Kar at the National Portrait Gallery, Grosvenor Vadehra is presenting an exhibition entitled Ida Kar: Portraits of F.N. Souza 1957 – 1961.

These images, taken during the period 1957 – 1961, have never been published or exhibited before. Now they will be on display in London from May 31 to June 4, 2011, followed in New Delhi on October 4, in Mumbai on October 6 and in Goa on October 8, 2011.

A talk with scholars and personal acquaintances of the artist along with the curator from The National Portrait Gallery will take place at each venue and will form a part of an academic paper.

Ida Kar (1908 – 1974) was an Armenian photographer, who after spending a period in Paris established her own photographic studio ‘Idabel’ in Cairo. There she met and married Victor Musgrave who went on to open Gallery One in 1944 in London.

Here she started as a theatrical photographer, taking sophisticated shots of young actors. However, she became most well known for the photographs she took of artists and writers, some of which have become defining portraits and important social documents of cultural life in post-war Britain.

She had her first solo exhibition in London at Gallery One – Forty Artists from London and Paris in 1954. Her photographs included those of artists Stanley Spencer, Tsugouharu Foujita, Alberto Giacometti, Man Ray and Le Corbusier.

She became the first photographer to be honoured by a major retrospective at the Whitechapel Gallery in 1960 – Ida Kar: Portraits of Artists and Writers in Great Britain, France and the Soviet Union. In preparation Kar travelled to Moscow, photographing Dmitri Shostakovich, and in Paris secured sittings with playwright Eugène Ionesco and co-founder of Cubism, Georges Braque.

F.N. Souza was with Gallery One when he had his first solo exhibition in 1956. The founder of the Indian Progressive Artists Group, Souza is one of India’s most important and recognized artists.

Kar took several images of Souza, seven of which are being exhibited at Grosvenor Vadehra. They show the artist in his studio. These photographs of the artist during 1957 – 1961 document a crucial phase in both Kar’s and Souza’s artistic careers.

The exhibition and the events around it will shed light on this period and the relationship between Kar and Souza whilst they were immersed in London’s flourishing art scene.

Times: Monday – Friday: 9:30am – 5:30pm, Saturday: 12 noon to 4pm (by appointment).

Grosvenor Vadehra, 21 Ryder Street, London, SW1Y 6PX

Tel: +44 (0)20 7484 7979