Sundered for commercial reasons
(three sell better than one)
Rejoined for artistic reasons
(three attract more than one)
To see the originals together
as one, intended, and to see
the originals at an angle,
standing left and looking right,
close to the canvas but not close
enough to alarm the attendants,
is to navigate the unexplored
and uncharted, a terrain
of watery greens and faded blues,
filtered whites and smudged reds,
continents of agapanthus separated
by oceans, seas of color floating
reflecting up and down
reflecting left to right
reflecting right to left
Colors swirl and move toward
a pinpoint on the horizon,
allowing the voyage never to end.
The three paintings popularly known as Monet’s “Water Lilies” are currently on an exhibition tour at the three museums who own them. Last fall, the exhibit was at the Nelson-Atkins Museum in Kansas City. Currently, it’s at the St. Louis Art Museum, and it will arrive at the Cleveland Museum of Art in February. The official title of the work is “The Agapanthus Triptych” for the African water lilies it depicts.
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Painting: Monet’s Water Lilies, Cleveland Museum of Art.