NORFOLK — The Chrysler Museum of Art will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I with Henri Farré and the Birth of Combat Aviation.
On view through Jan. 27, the exhibition will include more than 20 paintings by the French combat artist as well as related materials that will educate audiences about the training, combat and equipment used during the early days of combat aviation, according to a news release from The Chrysler.
The Military Aviation Museum’s scale model of a Nieuport 11, the most important French fighter plane of the war, will be on display in Chrysler’s Museum’s Huber Court from Nov. 6–10.
The Chrysler will present the exhibition in partnership with the Military Aviation Museum of Virginia Beach, whose astonishing and world-famous collection traces the first 50 years of military aviation.
“Besides its extraordinary collection of vintage aircraft, the Military Aviation Museum holds one of the largest collections of war paintings by this pioneer artist. We are proud to partner with them to bring these wonderful paintings to the Chrysler,” said Lloyd DeWitt, Ph.D., the Chrysler Museum’s Irene Leache Curator of European Art and Chief Curator.
Farré was the first to experience war in the air and depict it on canvas.
Born in France, he trained in Paris and was a successful portrait painter in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
At the age of 43, Farré left his comfortable and long-established artistic practice to return home and serve his country.
He flew with the military air services as often as he could, sometimes daily, and then applied his experiences to the canvas at day’s end, according to The Chrysler.
Trained by Impressionist artists, his accomplished and atmospheric paintings show his efforts to find the language to communicate his experiences.
“Farré documented the birth of military aviation with unusual panache. He celebrated the open sky, the drama and gallantry of aerial combat and the escape from the catastrophic carnage of trench warfare below,” DeWitt said.
Just prior to the end of World War I, Farré toured his Sky Fighters of France exhibition around the United States to raise money for war widows and orphans. Following the tour, he remained in the United States and established a successful career in Chicago, where he lived until his death in 1934.