Monet, van Gogh featured in new exhibit at Norfolk’s Chrysler Museum

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Some truth lies in perception. Some comes from the heart.

For the artists featured in the Chrysler Museum of Art’s latest exhibit, the truth lies somewhere in between, said Lloyd DeWitt, the museum’s chief curator.

 Vincent van Gogh’s 1889 painting “The Wheat Field behind St. Paul's Hospital, Saint Rémy." (Adrienne Mayfield/Southside Daily)

Vincent van Gogh’s 1889 painting, “The Wheat Field behind St. Paul’s Hospital, Saint Rémy.” (Adrienne Mayfield/Southside Daily)

“The Agrarian Ideal” opens at the Chrysler on Friday, featuring more than 20 works that depict an artistic fascination with 19th century farmers, peasants and country landscapes.

The exhibit features works by European impressionists Claude Monet and Vincent van Gogh, as well as American landscape painter Winslow Homer.  The works are largely set in the 1880s and 90s, showcasing the artists’ varying responses to war and oppression and their searches for a new kind of truth, DeWitt said.

On display is van Gogh’s 1889 painting, “The Wheat Field behind Paul’s Hospital, Saint Rémy,” which he painted while he was institutionalized at a mental hospital. The Dutch artist suffered from mental illness and eventually died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, DeWitt said.

The painting is of the same scene as van Gogh’s famous work, “Starry Night.”

“This is what he sees from his window,” DeWitt said. “He believes color and form are meant to stir the emotions. His truth is in the heart.”

Claude Monet's 1891 painting "Meules, fin de l'ete," (translated into Haystacks, End of Summer)

Claude Monet’s 1891 painting “Meules, fin de l’ete,” (translated as Haystacks, End of Summer)

Beside van Gogh’s painting is French impressionist Claude Monet’s 1891 painting, “Meules, fin de l’ete,” (which translates as Haystacks, End of Summer). The canvas is one of 15 paintings in a series that depict haystacks during different seasons of a single year.

Monet’s intention was to give the viewer a raw and true interpretation of the haystacks, especially during the dawn, which the artist found to be a magical time of day, DeWitt said.

“It’s a scientific truth,” DeWitt said. “The only constant is change.”

The exhibit will be open until Jan. 8, 2017.

Get a sneak peek of “The Agrarian Ideal” below.

Winslow Homer: Song of the Lark, 1876

Winslow Homer: Song of the Lark, 1876
American landscape painter Winslow Homer celebrates the vitality of the American farmer in his “Song of the Lark.” The painting shows a young, industrious farmer making his own fortune after the devastation of the American Civil War, said Chrysler Museum of Art Chief Curator Lloyd DeWitt. “There is no poor, oppressed peasant here,” DeWitt said. “Our young farmer is very industrious. He gets up with the lark.” (Courtesy of the Chrysler Museum of Art)

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Mayfield can be reached at 352-431-9612.

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