How Jacqueline Kennedy and Da Vinci's Masterpiece Charmed and Captivated a Nation
Da Capo Press
On Sale: September 22, 2008
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In December 1962, Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa set sail from
Paris to New York for what was arguably the riskiest art
exhibition ever mounted. The fragile icon traveled like a
head of state, with armed guards and military
surveillance, in a temperature-controlled vault.
Masterminding the entire show was First Lady Jacqueline
Kennedy, who tirelessly campaigned to persuade National
Gallery Director John Walker, French President Charles de
Gaulle, and her own husband to debut the legendary smile
here. For 88 charmed days, “Lisa Fever” swept the nation
as nearly two million Americans attended exhibits in
Washington, D.C. and New York. It was the greatest
outpouring of appreciation for a single work of art in
American history. And as only Jacqueline Kennedy could do,
she infused America’s first museum blockbuster show with a
unique sense of pageantry, igniting a national love affair
with the arts.
Gathering rare archival documents and
interviews, acclaimed biographer Margaret Leslie Davis has
woven a tantalizing saga, filled with international
intrigue and the irresistible charm of Camelot and its
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