We saw a special exhibit at the Cleveland Museum of Art while in town for the holiday. Three of Monet’s water lilies panels were reunited for the first time in decades. I know some people are sick of Monet and his water lilies but I have to confess something. We got there when the museum opened and while standing in an empty, dimly-lit gallery in front of these three master works, I had a moment. Something washed over me. I’m not a skilled enough writer or photographer to replicate the sensation. But whatever Monet intended, for that one fleeting moment, it worked. I got it.
Cleveland owns the panel on the left. The others are in the St. Louis Art Museum and the Nelson-Atkins Museum in Kansas City, which seems idiotic when you see them together. This is clearly one painting, not three. Broken apart, they seem incomplete. Not whole.
Water Lilies (Agapanthus), c. 1915-26
I walked into the gallery and saw The Daughter sitting in front of the paintings. I thought she was talking on her cell phone and it made me blue. But she wasn’t. She was listening to the audio guide. So that’s a small victory.
I love the Cleveland Museum of Art. It’s a world-class collection that rivals those in New York, Paris or London. And that’s not one of my witty sarcasms. It’s the truth. When I walk through the galleries and see the permanent collection, it’s like visiting old friends.
Bonus track. Mysterious and haunting.
Woman with a Veil
Bronze, c. 1891
I was unaware of stroke prevention but I already knew that coffee prevents suicide.