Chrysler Museum of Art Announces Portraits of a City: Views of Norfolk by Kenneth Harris

The Chrysler Museum of Art will present Portraits of a City: Views of Norfolk by Kenneth Harris. Opening Fall 2011.

In 1950 the Norfolk Museum of Arts and Sciences—today the Chrysler Museum of Art—commissioned a series of views of Norfolk, and contracted one of the regions most gifted watercolorists, Kenneth Harris, to illustrate the city as it appeared in the years just after World War II.

Harris responded by painting not only the city’s historical landmarks—the Old Norfolk Academy, the Moses Myers House, St. Paul’s Church—but its downtown, docks, and coal yards—the city’s commercial and industrial heart. The resulting series of 30 watercolors—titled Portraits of a City—proved to be an aesthetic triumph and an invaluable historical document, capturing both the look, and the feel, of Norfolk at mid-20th-century.

After being exhibited at the Museum in 1952, the watercolors traveled to nearly a dozen other museums and galleries in the Southeast. By the time the tour concluded in 1954, several of the sites depicted had already been demolished, having fallen prey to the first of many urban renewal projects that swept the city in the 1950s and ‘60s.

Image: Kenneth Harris, Freemason Street, Rainy day, 1950, Watercolor on paper, Chrysler Museum of Art

The Chrysler Museum of Art
245 West Olney Road
Norfolk, Virginia 23510
Phone: (757) 664-6200
Fax: (757) 664-6201
[email protected]

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