Elisabeth Däumer, Context for “Waterlily Fire”

By Elisabeth Däumer, Eastern Michigan University Published 2012/05/10 Rukeyser composed this five-part poem over the span of four years (1958-1962) in response to a fire at New York City’s Museum of Modern Art, which destroyed two of Monet's Waterlily paintings, one of them an 18-foot long panel attached to the wall in the second-floor gallery. "As the blaze spread, the wall caught on fire, and the painting was almost completely consumed" (Life Magazine 1958, p. 56). Monet's 18-foot long Waterlily Painting destroyed at the Museum of Modern Art on April 15, 1958 Beloved by New Yorkers, the paintings [...]