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Portraits of an artist

Photographer Ida Kar was at the heart of London’s cultural life in the 1950s, but then fell out of fashion. A new exhibition should return her to the spotlight where she belongs

By Vanora Bennett   March 2011

Bridget Riley in 1963. All images © The National Portrait Gallery

Ida Kar: Bohemian Photographer, 1908-74 National Portrait Gallery, 10th March-19th June, Tel: 020 7306 0055

What happens to art in times of recession? The National Portrait Gallery’s new exhibition of postwar photographic portraits by the long-forgotten artist Ida Kar offers one answer. When the most recent downturn began, conventional wisdom was that the lack of buyers might push the art world towards self-indulgence, or a defiant testing of boundaries. Yet what has instead come to the fore since 2007, at least among curators, has been a quieter, more reflective…

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