Portraits of Georges Braque, Henry Moore, Bridget Riley and Jean-Paul Sartre star in this retrospective, held fifty years after Kar's inaugural Whitechapel exhibition.
Ida Kar was famously the first photographer to be awarded a retrospective in a London Gallery. The Whitechapel’s gamble back in 1960 paid off, and Kar’s body of work – portraits of the great and the good of the postwar cultural scene in Europe and Russia – created a foothold for the medium in the long climb for critical acceptance in the UK.
Recent big photography exhibitions at the National Gallery and Barbican show that the summit, if not reached, is at least in plain sight. The National Portrait Gallery’s 2011 exhibition of Kar’s work demonstrated that public interest in her work has remained strong.
This show, produced in collaboration with the National Portrait Gallery, rehangs the highlights of the 2011 exhibition and also features some of her later portraits of the leading members of the St Ives School, including Patrick Heron, Peter Lanyon and Terry Frost.