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May 17, 2011

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Monet's Water Lilies Reunited

Amy Stapleton

I recently completed one more thing on my “bucket list.”

I traveled to Kansas City with a dear friend to visit the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. The museum is filled with light and space, which creates the perfect backdrop to experience the beautiful exhibit Monet’s Water Lilies. And, for the first time in 30 years, all three panels were in the same place—back together for one more time.

When we arrived we took the shuttle cart, a stretch golf cart aptly named after the massive Shuttlecocks sculptures that adorn the grounds. The cart moved through the hallways down to the Monet exhibit. When we entered, the first thing we saw was a video presentation of Claude Monet painting.

After, we walked along the wall filled with information on the triptychs and learned the history of the magnificent panels.

As you walk through the hallway and round a corner, there they are. The light is muted and the panels are huge. It was very quiet, peaceful, and stunning. We sat on the cushioned benches and just looked, each picking a part that we liked best.

One of the joys of impressionist painting is the difference in the piece from far away and up close. When we walked up within inches of the panels, we could see the dabs of paint, thickly applied. Up close, the lilies and the water seem to disappear. When we stepped back a few feet, the lilies reappeared. It was stunning.

In the next room, the X-rays of the panels were on display, showing us how Monet changed and painted over parts of the panels. He worked on them for 11 years.

Visiting these works of art at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City proved to be a wonderful day. It truly was a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see these panels together.

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May 17, 2011

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