She is in the Philadelphia Art Museum.
He is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
When I went to the Philadelphia Museum, I told her that I had located him. She was crazy with joy.
The guard told me to step back because I was too close to her.
Portrait, 1912, painted oil on canvas
Alexei von Jawlensky, 1864- 1941, Russian active Germany. Philadelphia Museum of Art.
When I saw him at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, I leaned forward and showed him this photo of her and asked him if he had been looking for her.
“Yes,” he said. “Where is she? Can you take me to her?”
The guard said: “Are you talking to the painting? Step back. You think he can hear you?”
A portrait of Andre Derain, 1906, oil on cardboard
Maurice de Vlaminck, French, 1876-1958. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
The first he ever saw her was in a park in Berlin on a hot day. She was camouflaged in the flora.
Mme. Kupka among The Verticals, 1910-11, and detail. Oil on canvas. Frantisek Kupka, 1871-1957, Czech. MOMA, NY
He watched and followed as she emerged onto a path. He approached.
It was love for both of them at first sight. (I don’t believe in love at first sight but this isn’t my story).
They were separated shortly after by circumstances beyond their control.
Lady in a Park, 1914, oil on canvas. August Macke, 1887-1914. MOMA, New York. 2016
After I had managed re-introductions, they met by agreement on Thanksgiving Day when all the museums are closed.
They made a pact to visit each other whenever both museums are closed.
Their love has been passionate. (Like in the movies).
The Lovers (After the Rain), and detail, 1925, enamel paint and oil on canvas.
Francis Picabia, 1879-1953. Musee d’Art Modern de la Ville de Paris, on exhibit at MOMA, NY in the winter of 2016/2017
And now here they are: separated again. The virus-god is visiting. While he is visiting nobody can move about.
She became very angry.
A Montrouge –Rosa La Rouge, 1886–1887. Oil on canvas.
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, 1864-1901, French. Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia
She would no longer allow us to see her face.
Study of Lilia, oil on canvas, 1887.
Carolus-Duran, 1817-1917, French. National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
And when the museum threatened her with an eternity in storage if she did not turn around, she became so angry that she scrambled herself.
Like Cy Twombly. Incoherent.
Recognizable only by a reference to her glorious red hair. Mouthing all kinds of apocalyptical things.
One of a series called Shades of Night, 1977 and 1978, oil paint and graphite, some with oil stick also, on paper.
Cy Twombly, 1928-2011, American. Loaned to the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 2016/17 by the Twombly Foundation.
He is sad, of course. For a bit.
He has taken the advice of his wise old, neighbour.
Mask of a Woman with a Large Coil of Plaited Hair, plaster, paint, glass-inland eyes; reign of Hadrian, 117-138 ACE.
Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY
“I”, she said, “have been locked down for millenia. The Emperor Hadrian decapitated me and my husband for refusing the oath of allegiance to him.”
“Relax,” she said. “Sapiens is a show and a law unto itself,” she said “as they pass by us, looking or not looking at us.
“I’m watching their struggle against this invisible being now,” she said. “This tiny thing.
“What happened to their scientific materialism?” she asked.
“Did it get defeated by a tiny invisible thing?”
And so he is keeping quiet. What else can he do while the virus-god lays the land low?
The museum wants to know how he got his glasses and why he has lost his old vigour.
Portrait of Benjamin Passione, 2009, acrylic and mixed media on board.
Mickayel Thurin, American born 1987. Woodmere Museum of Art, Philadelphia
The colour has drained from his forehead and his cheeks are splotchy with color.
The Met’s curators are perplexed about this and are thinking of carting him off for conservation.
He has perked up now and became philosophical.
”Good! I need a total face lift,” he thinks.
Because he has his eye on a veritable beauty at the MOMA just down 5th Avenue.
Head, c. 1910, oil on canvas over cardboard.
Alex von Jablensky. 1864-1941, Russian active Germany. MOMA, NY
“To hell with this god-virus”, he thinks.
“I am not flesh and blood. I am just a memory in the imagination of an unknown woman” he thinks.
“A painted image” he thinks. “That woman is playing with me, isn’t she?”