Combat aviation paintings on display at The Chrysler Museum

Henri Farré (French 1871−1934), British Handley-Page Bomber, 1918, Oil on canvas, Collection of the Military Aviation Museum. (Southside Daily photo/Courtesy of The Chrysler Museum)
Henri Farré (French 1871−1934), British Handley-Page Bomber, 1918, Oil on canvas, Collection of the Military Aviation Museum. (Southside Daily photo/Courtesy of The Chrysler Museum)

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.

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John Mangalonzo (john@localvoicemedia.com) is the managing editor of Local Voice Media’s Virginia papers – WYDaily (Williamsburg), Southside Daily (Virginia Beach) and HNNDaily (Hampton-Newport News). Before coming to Local Voice, John was the senior content editor of The Bellingham Herald, a McClatchy newspaper in Washington state. Previously, he served as city editor/content strategist for USA Today Network newsrooms in St. George and Cedar City, Utah. John started his professional journalism career shortly after graduating from Lyceum of The Philippines University in 1990. As a rookie reporter for a national newspaper in Manila that year, John was assigned to cover four of the most dangerous cities in Metro Manila. Later that year, John was transferred to cover the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines. He spent the latter part of 1990 to early 1992 embedded with troopers in the southern Philippines as they fought with communist rebels and Muslim extremists. His U.S. journalism career includes reporting and editing stints for newspapers and other media outlets in New York City, California, Texas, Iowa, Utah, Colorado and Washington state.