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April 13, 2010
Market Gallery’s ‘Facets of Fame’ show features the portraits of Toronto photographer Al Gilbert
The City of Toronto's Market Gallery is presenting an exhibition from the Ontario Jewish Archives (a department of the United Jewish Appeal Federation of Greater Toronto) featuring the work of internationally acclaimed portrait photographer Al Gilbert.

Entitled “Facets of Fame: Portraits by Toronto Photographer Al Gilbert,” the exhibition opens on April 24 and runs through September 11. The exhibition features about 75 portraits of prominent personalities from all walks of life - with a special emphasis on Toronto luminaries.

While Gilbert earned a reputation within the Toronto Jewish community as the premier photographer for graduations, bar mitzvahs, anniversaries and weddings, he also won great acclaim and awards within the international world of photography as a master portrait photographer. His innovative techniques and success securing world famous subjects - including Pope John Paul II, Frank Sinatra, Martin Luther King III, several Canadian prime ministers and all of the Israeli prime ministers - set him apart from most of his Canadian peers and placed him by many as second only to his mentor, Yousuf Karsh.

Ellen Scheinberg, director of the Ontario Jewish Archives, comments, “The exhibition explores the history and evolution of Gilbert Studios, and Al Gilbert’s in particular, from the 1920s until the present, through a selection of his definitive portraits along with photographs taken by his father, Nathan, with some family artifacts. The exhibition is both a reflection on Al Gilbert’s talent and his artistic roots, and his legacy.”

The exhibition is primarily composed of oversized portraits of some of the notable people Al Gilbert photographed throughout his career, also featuring several early photographs taken by Nathan Gilbert. Artifacts - from glass plate negatives to digital images documenting the early days of Gilbert Studios - will also be on display in order to reveal the evolution of the studio and photographer.

The history of Gilbert Studios dates back to 1922, when Nathan Gittelmacher (the family later changed their name to Gilbert) established his studio at 615 Queen St. W. Nathan’s son Albert assisted him with his work and later took over the business during the 1940s. In order to accommodate his growing clientele, Al moved the studio to Eglinton Avenue and later to 170 Davenport Rd., where it is situated today.

Many of the Gilbert photographs on view were donated in 2007 to the Ontario Jewish Archives. The archives were established in 1973 and are responsible for acquiring, preserving and making available documentary sources related to the Ontario Jewish community.

The Market Gallery is a program of Toronto Cultural Services and presents changing exhibitions dedicated to Toronto’s art, culture and history and offers educational programs for school groups and adults. The gallery is located on the second floor of South St. Lawrence Market, 95 Front St. E. Admission is free. Gallery hours are Tuesday to Friday (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.), Saturday (9 a.m. to 4 p.m.). Closed Sunday, Monday and holidays. More information is available at

Toronto is Canada's largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. It is the economic engine of Canada and one of the greenest and most creative cities in North America. Toronto has won numerous awards for quality, innovation and efficiency in delivering public services. Toronto's government is dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all its residents. For information about non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can dial 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Media contacts:
Pamela Wachna, Coordinator of Collections and Outreach, 416-392-7604,
Shane Gerard, Senior Promotions & Communications Coordinator, Cluster A Communications Unit, 416-397-5711,



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