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Historic Houses

Located on Freemason St. —
Open Saturday and Sunday

Noon–5 p.m.

Jean Outland Chrysler Library

By Appointment
Tuesday-Thursday

10:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m.

Moses Myers House

The oldest Jewish home in America open to the public as a museum offers a glimpse of the life of an early 19th century merchant family.
More about the house

About the Library

With an extensive collection of more than 106,000 rare and unique volumes relating to the history of art, the Jean Outland Chrysler Art Library is one of the most significant art libraries in the South. More about the library

Willoughby-Baylor House

Completed in 1794, this former home now presents a mix of art and artifacts. See what's on view

Located in Norfolk

One Memorial Place,
Norfolk, VA
Get Directions

While You're Here

Visit our Museum Shop
and the Wisteria Cafe.

Perry Glass Studio

A state-of-art facility on the Museum’s campus. See a free glassmaking demo Tuesdays–Sunday at noon. Like what you see? Take a class with us! More about the Studio

Moses Myers House

The home of the first permanent Jewish residents of Norfolk, this historic house offers a glimpse of the life of a wealthy early 19th-century merchant family.
More about the house

Jean Outland Chrysler Library

With an extensive collection of more than 106,000 rare and unique volumes relating to the history of art, the Jean Outland Chrysler Library is one of the most significant art libraries in the South. More about the Library

Weddings & Event Rentals

The perfect place for your big day or special event. Get the details

Take a tour

We offer a number of tours on different topics. More about tours

Jean Outland Chrysler Library

Visit one of the most significant art libraries in the South. More about the library

About the Chrysler

Our story spans well over 100 years. See where we began, how we grew, and where we're going. Explore our history

News and Announcements

See what's happening at the Museum, read Chrysler Magazine, and find our Media Center. Read now

Location

745 Duke Street
Norfolk, VA 23510
757-333-6299

Always Free Parking

Get Directions

Third Thursdays

Live art performances monthly.
See the archive

Studio Team

Meet the brilliant minds behind the Studio.
See the team

Studio Assistantship Program

Further your career and join us in Norfolk.
Applications available Fall 2019

The Masterpiece Society

Learn about this innovative group of museum supporters.
Meet the Masterpiece Society

Planned Giving

Help ensure the long-term success of the Museum.
Learn about planned giving

Historic Houses

Located on Freemason St. —
Open Saturday and Sunday

Noon–5 p.m.

Jean Outland Chrysler Library

By Appointment
Tuesday-Thursday

10:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m.

Moses Myers House

The oldest Jewish home in America open to the public as a museum offers a glimpse of the life of an early 19th century merchant family.
More about the house

About the Library

With an extensive collection of more than 106,000 rare and unique volumes relating to the history of art, the Jean Outland Chrysler Art Library is one of the most significant art libraries in the South. More about the library

Willoughby-Baylor House

Completed in 1794, this former home now presents a mix of art and artifacts. See what's on view

Located in Norfolk

One Memorial Place,
Norfolk, VA
Get Directions

While You're Here

Visit our Museum Shop
and the Wisteria Cafe.

Perry Glass Studio

A state-of-art facility on the Museum’s campus. See a free glassmaking demo Tuesdays–Sunday at noon. Like what you see? Take a class with us! More about the Studio

Moses Myers House

The home of the first permanent Jewish residents of Norfolk, this historic house offers a glimpse of the life of a wealthy early 19th-century merchant family.
More about the house

Jean Outland Chrysler Library

With an extensive collection of more than 106,000 rare and unique volumes relating to the history of art, the Jean Outland Chrysler Library is one of the most significant art libraries in the South. More about the Library

Weddings & Event Rentals

The perfect place for your big day or special event. Get the details

Take a tour

We offer a number of tours on different topics. More about tours

Jean Outland Chrysler Library

Visit one of the most significant art libraries in the South. More about the library

About the Chrysler

Our story spans well over 100 years. See where we began, how we grew, and where we're going. Explore our history

News and Announcements

See what's happening at the Museum, read Chrysler Magazine, and find our Media Center. Read now

Location

745 Duke Street
Norfolk, VA 23510
757-333-6299

Always Free Parking

Get Directions

Third Thursdays

Live art performances monthly.
See the archive

Studio Team

Meet the brilliant minds behind the Studio.
See the team

Studio Assistantship Program

Further your career and join us in Norfolk.
Applications available Fall 2019

The Masterpiece Society

Learn about this innovative group of museum supporters.
Meet the Masterpiece Society

Planned Giving

Help ensure the long-term success of the Museum.
Learn about planned giving

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ArtExhibitionsUpcoming

Thomas Jefferson, Architect:
Palladian Models, Democratic Principles, and the Conflict of Ideals

On View

October 19, 2019 — January 19, 2020

Located in

First Floor, Special Exhibitions Gallery

The most important architectural thinker of the young American republic, Thomas Jefferson conveyed ideals of liberty and democracy in his designs.

Jefferson (1743–1826) was Governor of Virginia, Secretary of State, President of the United States and author of the Declaration of Independence. He was also a slave owner. Thomas Jefferson, Architect: Palladian Models, Democratic Principles, and the Conflict of Ideals explores this divergence alongside his extraordinary architectural influence.

(Right) Mather Brown (American, 1761–1831)
Thomas Jefferson, 1786
Oil on canvas
National Portrait Gallery, NPG.99.66

(Below) John Trumbull (American, 1756−1843)
The Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776, 1832
Oil on canvas
Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT

Portrait of Thomas Jefferson
John Trumbull The Declaration of Independence
Slave medallion. Artist/Maker: Josiah Wedgwood

Organized by the Chrysler Museum of Art in collaboration with the Palladio Museum in Vicenza, Italy, this exhibition focuses on the ideas, formation and key monuments of the Founding Father who dramatically influenced the architectural profile of the young republic. It will also confront the inherent conflict between Jefferson’s pursuit of contemporary ideals of liberty and democracy and his use of slave labor to construct his monuments.

(Left) Slave Medallion
Wedgwood
, Staffordshire, England, ca.1790
Stoneware, unglazed, with white and black clay
The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation
Museum Purchase, 1982-202

(Below) Thomas Jefferson (American, 1743–1826)
Proposed sketch for the President’s House, elevation, 1792
Pen and ink with gray wash
Courtesy of the Maryland Historical Society, 1976.88.6

Model of Jefferson's design for the President's House competition (scale 1:66), 2015

“For both Jefferson and Palladio, the architecture of the ancients was the key model with regard to functionality, style, and meaning. We see evidence of Thomas Jefferson’s influence in the architecture throughout our region, and we are excited to share the history and influence of these designs with our visitors to present important elements of Virginia’s history.”

– Director Erik H. Neil

The exhibition follows Jefferson’s evolution as an architect with nearly 130 objects, including models, rare books, paintings, drawings, early photographs and architectural elements. His designs for the Virginia State House, the University of Virginia and his home at Monticello established a new standard for America. Jefferson sought to convey ideals of liberty and democracy with architecture rooted in the classical tradition and the models of the Renaissance master Andrea Palladio.

Through his travels in the colonies and Europe and his extensive library, he engaged with contemporary ideas of architectural design. Yet, at the same moment, the creation of these monuments was founded on the economic and social institution of slavery. The inherent conflict is inescapable.

(Above) Designed by Simone Baldissini, Constructed by Ivan Simonato
Model of Jefferson’s design for the President’s House competition (scale 1:66), 2015
Wood, resin, and tempera
Palladio Museum, Vicenza

(Right) Thomas Jefferson (American 1743–1826)
Monticello: Observation tower, recto, ca. 1771
Pen and Ink with gray wash
Coolidge Collection of Thomas Jefferson Manuscripts, Massachusetts Historical Society

 

Catalog

Thomas Jefferson Architect Book Cover
Thomas Jefferson, Architect
Palladian Models, Democratic Principles, and the Conflict of Ideals

Lloyd DeWitt with Corey Piper; With an introduction by Erik H. Neil and contributions by Guido Beltramini, Barry Bergdoll, Howard Burns, Lloyd DeWitt, Louis Nelson, Mabel O. Wilson, and Richard Guy Wilson

In addition to a thorough introduction to Jefferson’s career as an architect, the book provides insight into his sources of inspiration and a nuanced take on the contradictions between his ideas about liberty and his embrace of slavery, most poignantly reflected in his plan for the academical village at the University of Virginia, which was carefully designed to keep enslaved workers both invisible and accessible. Thomas Jefferson, Architect offers fresh perspectives on Jefferson’s architectural legacy, which has shaped the political and social landscape of the nation and influenced countless American architects since his time.

 

The exhibition catalog will be available for purchase in the Museum Shop. Preorder the catalog online.

Exhibition Sponsors

Dominion Energy Logo

Thomas Jefferson Architect: Palladian Models, Democratic Principles, and the Conflict of Ideals is presented with support from Dominion Energy.

This project is supported in part by awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Wyeth Foundation for American Art, and the Embassy of Italy in Washington D.C. Funding for the models featured in the exhibition is provided by Roberto Coin. Support for the exhibition catalog is provided by the Norfolk Society of Arts.

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Read the full Press Release.

Click here
Delve Deeper

Exhibition Programming

Rotunda (Library) University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA
Mabel O. Wilson and Louis P. Nelson in Conversation

Renowned scholars Mabel O. Wilson and Louis P. Nelson will discuss the contributions and legacy of enslaved craftsman on the architecture of Thomas Jefferson.

Maison Carée À Nîmes
Dream It, Build it!

If you can dream it, you can build it! During this day devoted to building and creating, children of all ages and their adults are invited to learn, play and build. Create a castle out of blocks, design a tower out of LEGO blocks or draw your own fantasy city.

More special exhibitions

On view right now

Eric Carle (American, b. 1929) Illustration for Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me (Simon & Schuster) Collection of Eric and Barbara Carle © 1986 Eric Carle
Through September 8, 2019

Eric Carle: Moonlit Nights & Other Illustrations
Exhibition Details

Five Years of Photography: James Baldwin
Through October 20, 2019

Five Years of Photography
Exhibition Details

From the Collection