If I were a frog. . .

What happened when I entered the Monet room at the MOMA? I can tell you I wasn’t expecting the vistas of water and light that engulfed me and left me gasping in slight pain.  These mammoth waterlily canvases are 14 ft long – each one. Six feet high. The three of them are side by side by side along one long wall – – that’s 42 feet.  You are literally swimming around in this canvaspool of color.  If I was a carp or frog, I’d die and come here, to Monet heaven.

Water Lilies Claude Monet (French, 1840-1926)  1914-26. Oil on canvas, three panels, Each 6' 6 3/4" x 13' 11 1/4" (200 x 424.8 cm), overall 6' 6 3/4" x 41' 10 3/8" (200 x 1276 cm). Mrs. Simon Guggenheim Fund

Water Lilies Claude Monet (French, 1840-1926) 1914-26. Oil on canvas, three panels, MOMA, Mrs. Simon Guggenheim Fund, New York

This one is my favorite.  I’m captured by the sapphire blue, deep violet-purple and the little points of red. I had a little print of this one in my college dorm room. It got me through alot of teen angst.  How was I to know that it was so extraordinarily large?  This little poster drop of peace was in reality, a tremendous baptismal of beauty.  What else am I missing in life. . .what else is there to discover?

Water Lilies Claude Monet (French, 1840-1926)  1914-26. Oil on canvas, three panels, Each 6' 6 3/4" x 13' 11 1/4" (200 x 424.8 cm), overall 6' 6 3/4" x 41' 10 3/8" (200 x 1276 cm). Mrs. Simon Guggenheim Fund

Water Lilies Claude Monet (French, 1840-1926) 1914-26. Oil on canvas, three panels, MOMA, Mrs. Simon Guggenheim Fund, New York

Most of Monet’s  paintings are small because he painted al fresco and needed to be mobile, but these were painted at a special studio he designed at Giverny.  Monet originally wanted these to be displayed on curved walls, obscuring the visual boundaries to capture the essence of one of the hardest things to paint – water.

Water Lilies Claude Monet (French, 1840-1926)  1914-26. Oil on canvas, three panels, Each 6' 6 3/4" x 13' 11 1/4" (200 x 424.8 cm), overall 6' 6 3/4" x 41' 10 3/8" (200 x 1276 cm). Mrs. Simon Guggenheim Fund

Water Lilies Claude Monet (French, 1840-1926) 1914-26. Oil on canvas, three panels, MOMA, Mrs. Simon Guggenheim Fund, New York

Here’s the shady area of the pond. The cotton candy pink is fluffity deliciousness!  Unfortunately though, the shade didn’t stop there; Monet developed cataracts as he aged. In the face of that harsh reality we call “life,” we still have the chance to create a piece of heaven.


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