The Gallery holds the most extensive collection of portraits in the world. Search over 215,000 works, 150,000 of which are illustrated from the 16th Century to the present day.

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Ida Kar in Cuba

2015 marks fifty years since Kar’s Cuban portfolio was first exhibited in London. This selection from the Gallery’s collection highlights some of the Kar’s finest documentary work. It was by invitation, from the Cuban Embassy, that in 1964 Kar had the opportunity to travel to Cuba to attend the fifth anniversary of the Revolution. There she photographed the president, Fidel Castro, and the country’s leading artists and writers. Kar’s portraits of Cuba and its citizens convey a moving sensibility and expression; her photographs grasp the pride and enthusiasm of the nation’s ideals. In 1999 the National Portrait Gallery purchased the complete surviving Ida Kar Archive, which includes eight hundred photographic prints and ten thousand negatives. Over 1500 works have been catalogued and are available to view online.


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