In Memoriam: I.M. Pei

May 17, 2019 - June 5, 2019

TheNational Portrait Gallery recognizes the life and legacy of acclaimed architect I.M. Pei with a photograph by Armenian Canadian photographer Yousuf Karsh. His portrait will be installed this morning in the museum’s In Memoriam space on the first floor. 

Born in Canton (now Guangzhou), China, in 1917, Pei was considered one of the most influential architects to emerge in the decades following World War II. Drawn to the United States to study architecture in 1935, Pei became a U.S. citizen in 1954 and soon after founded his own architecture firm. As his reputation grew, important projects—such as the commission for the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum—came his way.

Pei is recognized throughout the world for his striking, high-modernist designs. He created such iconic structures as the critically acclaimed East Wing of the National Gallery of Art (1978) and the distinctive glass pyramid that forms the entrance to the Louvre (1989). He has received many major awards, including the coveted Pritzker Prize (1983).

Man in round glasses standing in a doorway
I. M. Pei by Yousuf Karsh, / 1979, Gelatin silver print / National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Estrellita Karsh in memory of Yousuf Karsh
Copyright Estate of Yousuf Karsh