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Jesse Kalisher Passes Away at 55

(July 2017) posted on Mon Jul 24, 2017

Famed photographer founded art company

High-profile fine art photographer and hospitality industry veteran Jesse Kalisher passed away last Thursday at the age of 55. The co-founder and president of his eponymous Carrboro, North Carolina-based hospitality art company was diagnosed with what he described as a “rare and aggressive form of cancer” in January. He’s survived by his wife and KALISHER co-founder/chairwoman Helen; his son, Jordan; and his daughter, Tamar, according to local reports.

Jesse Kalisher
Jesse Kalisher (shown right) moderating the “How Art Defines a Hotel” panel at BDNY 2016. Also shown, left to right: Jay Pecotte, Hard Rock Intl.; Lauren Rottet, Rottet Studio; and Christy Donato, JW Marriott. Photo: Richard Cadan

“Jesse built our company on outlandish innovation, passion for fine art, and with humility and love,” says KALISHER president David Winton. “He helped create more than a half million pieces of art installed all over the world, and built a 100-plus person collaborative, creative engine from scratch in North Carolina … Everything Jesse said or did helped define an industry, inspired his colleagues and worked to build the lives of those around him.”

Originally from New York, Kalisher received his first camera on his sixth birthday. His works are featured in several permanent museum collections, including ones at the Louvre in Paris; the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C.; the George Eastman Museum in Rochester, New York; the de Young Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco; and the Museum of Fine Arts Houston. He also took the first photograph of President Barack Obama to be acquired by the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.

Kalisher published multiple books—including “One World,” which was profiled in Boutique Design’s October 2014 edition—and was a frequent exhibitor and speaker in the hospitality industry, including moderating the “How Art Defines a Hotel” panel discussion at BDNY 2016.

In addition to his career, Kalisher donated to multiple charities and co-founded the annual Jesse & Helen Kalisher Humanitarian Award, which celebrates someone who makes a difference in the world.

The team at KALISHER invites the late creative’s family, friends and colleagues to share their own stories via email at


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