Chrysler Museum of Art

Norfolk, Virginia

(757) 664-6200


Portrait of a City at Mid-Century: Kenneth Harris' Views of Norfolk

Debuting on Tuesday, September 22, 1998 and extending through January 10, 1999, the Chrysler Museum of Art's Community Galiery will display watercolors by artist Kenneth Harris (1904-1983) from his perennially popular Portrait of a City series of 1950-1951.

Views of old downtown Norfolk and Ghent will be shown, including historic landmarks such as the Moses Myers House, St. Paul's Church, the original Norfolk Academy, and the Lamberts Point Docks. This evocative exhibition offers a nostalgic look at Norfollc's face at mid-century, just prior to the city's extensive redevelopment projects that redefined its character following World War II. It also provides a pictorial narrative of Norfolk that captures the charm and appeal that, to some degree and with imagination, still exists today.

In 1950, the former Norfolk Museum of Arts and Sciences (today's Chrysler Museum of Art) commissioned Kenneth Harris, one of Hampton Roads' most respected and gifted watercolorists, to illustrate the city as it had appeared just after the war.

The resulting series of thirty watercolors proved to be an aesthetic triumph and, as well, an invaluable historical document. After being shown in 1952 at the Norfolk Museum, the show traveled to nearly a dozen other museums and galleries throughout the Southeast. By the time the tour concluded in 1954, six of the sites Harris had depicted had already been drastically altered or had disappeared completely.

Join the Chrysler Museum of Art in this celebration of the works of this remarkable artist and historian. Experience a glimpse into the past through Kenneth Harris' vision and his colorful and vibrant scenes of a Norfolk "once upon a time."

From top to bottom: NE Corner of Bank and Bute Streets, 1951, watercolor, 15 3/8 x 21 inches; Design for Living, 1953, watercolor, 13 1/4 x 20 1/4 inches; West Freemason St. Looking West Towards Library, 1951, watercolor, 15 1/4 x 20 3/4 inches; Beechwood Place, Hague in the Distance, 1950, watercolor, 15 1/4 x 22 inches; Oyster Plant, 1951, watercolor, 15 1/8 x 22 7/8 inches; East Olney Road, 1951, watercolor, 15 1/4 x 22 3/8 inches.

rev. 11/26/10

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