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NOVEMBER 18, 2007  

Back, finally.

Exterior view of new construction at Cleveland Museum of ArtIt's been way too long.

The Cleveland Museum of Art closed about three years ago for the construction of a huge addition, part of which is shown at left.

The lighter-colored section plays off the earlier Marcel Breuer addition on the right but gradually flows into a glassier look that will connect to the very traditional original building that you can see peeking out behind the "Modern Masters" banner.

It will be years until construction is completed, but today we went to see the current show which brings back a big part of the permanent collection that has been touring the world. It was like seeing old friends again, and coincidentally we were there with old friends in town for the weekend. What could be better?

There was a time that I'd visit the Museum every Friday for an hour or two. I'd quickly walk through many of the galleries, stopping to visit my favorite pieces. Then I'd buy coffee, soup and a roll and sit in the cafe and write or sketch in my notebook. It was my reward for finishing a week of work.

Close-up of Rodin's The Thinker from Cleveland Museum of ArtVisiting the exhibition today felt a lot like that. The show is made up of many of the Museum's most significant pieces, from Picasso's La Vie to the huge Rodin The Thinker that used to be on a pedestal at the front entrance to the Museum.

It was a thrill to see him up close like this instead of eight feet above my head. From this distance the violence of the damage done by a bomb in 1970 is much more obvious. The lower parts of the legs and base are just torn apart and twisted. I remember when it happened: many thought that it was some sort of anti-war protest, but no one ever claimed to have done it, and no bomber was ever identified.

So after reacquainting myself with many of the paintings and sculptures that have been gone for years, I reconnected with my friends in the cafe. I ordered soup and a roll.

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