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University of Texas at Austin

Ida Kar:

A Preliminary Inventory of Her Photographic Prints at the Harry Ransom Center

Creator: Kar, Ida, 1908-1974
Title: Ida Kar Photographic Prints
Dates: 1953-1964
Extent: 124 gelatin silver prints
Abstract: The collection contains 124 portrait photographs by Kar, featuring prominent men and women associated with the arts. Kar's subjects include painters, sculptors, authors, poets, playwrights, composers, and museum directors. Photographs of Kar by other photograpers are also present in the collection.
Call Number: Photography Collection PH-00079
Language: No linguistic material present
Access: Open for research

Administrative Information

Acquisition: Purchase, 1964 (Gernsheim Collection)
Processed by: Mary Alice Harper, 2000

Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas at Austin

Scope and Contents

The Ida Kar collection of photographic prints is comprised of 124 gelatin silver prints dating from 1953 to 1964. The collection consists largely of portrait photographs featuring prominent men and women associated with the arts, including painters, sculptors, authors, poets, playwrights, composers, and museum directors. The collection is subdivided into four lots: Loose prints, 1953-1962 (37 items); Exhibition prints from Ida Kar: Artist with a camera, 1953-1962 (77 items); Loose prints of the Whitechapel Art Gallery (London) exhibition in situ, 1960 (6 items); and Photographs of Ida Kar by other photographers, 1960-1964 (4 items).
Comprising over half the collection is a group of oversize, mounted exhibition prints by Kar from a show, titled Ida Kar: Artist with a camera, held at The University of Texas' Art Museum in October and November of 1966. These photographs, with the exception of 12, are from a series of limited edition prints Kar selected for her Whitechapel exhibition. These photographs capture Kar's signature style of photographing her subjects in their familiar surroundings relying largely on the natural light of the location, as well as her belief "that a picture naturally dictates its right size and shape" whether that be 20 × 24 inches or over 6 feet. Kar photographed the majority of her subjects in Great Britain, but she captured 21 in France and an additional 12 in the USSR. Notable sitters include Henry Moore, Somerset Maugham, T. S. Eliot, Brendan Behan, Noel Coward, Cecil Beaton, Man Ray, Marc Chagall, Georges Braque, Hans Arp, Le Corbusier, Alberto Giacometti, and Jean-Paul Sartre among others.
The following item list is arranged by accession number. Titles were taken from print versos (when present), from Gernsheim's inventory (Inventory 16, Contemporary Photographers), or from exhibition inventories. A subject index, sorted alphabetically by surname, is featured at the end of this inventory.
Scholars seeking additional information on Ida Kar will find several published sources, as well as Helmut Gernsheim's notes and clippings, in the Photography Collection.

Series Descriptions


Kar, Ida. An exhibition of portraits of artists and writers in Great Britain, France and the Soviet Union; and other photographs held at the Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, March-April 1960. London: Whitechapel Art Gallery, 1960.
Vines, Alan. "Artist With a Camera,"The British Journal of Photography. March 16, 1962. pp. 200-203.

Ida Kar Photographic Prints--Item List