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Aug 17, 2011. - Jan 29, 2012.

Portraits of a City

Views of Norfolk by Kenneth Harris

In 1950, as the city of Norfolk prepared for massive urban renewal demolition projects, the Norfolk Museum of Arts and Sciences commissioned watercolorist Kenneth Harris to document city scenes before they were lost to history.

Harris responded by painting not only the city's historical landmarks, but its downtown, docks, and coal yards—the city’s commercial and industrial heart. The resulting series of 30 watercolors proved to be an aesthetic triumph and an invaluable historical document.

After being exhibited at the Museum in 1952, the watercolors traveled to museums and galleries in the Southeast until 1954. By the time the paintings returned, several of the depicted sites had already been demolished.

A Kenneth Harris watercolor

Kenneth Harris, Freemason Street, Rainy Day, 1950, watercolor on paper. Click image to enlarge.

Kenneth Harris
Mattie and Maynard's Grocery
1951
Watercolor on paper.

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