Mona Lisa in Camelot: How Jacqueline Kennedy and da Vinci's Masterpiece Charmed and Captivated a Nation

Margaret Leslie Davis, Author . Da Capo $24.95 (278p) ISBN 978-0-7382-1103-9

The 1963 American exhibition of the Mona Lisa in New York City and Washington, D.C., was America's first blockbuster art show, and Davis recounts in numbing detail the negotiations, preparations, flummoxes and successes of the exhibit. The exhibition was masterminded by the diplomatically savvy Mrs. Kennedy, whose personal relationships with French cultural minister André Malraux and National Gallery director John Walker overcame negative French press and concerns over subjecting a fragile artwork to a transatlantic journey. Heavily guarded and packed in a custom strong box, the Mona Lisa traveled in a first-class cabin on the USS France . Though Walker planned the exhibit with military precision, the opening ceremony was chaotic, and the painting was badly hung and poorly lit. Although Davis's (Rivers in the Desert ) tale of the inner workings of a major art exhibition has its moments, it's undermined by padding (like the text of an imagined interview of La Gioconda by a “newspaper reporter with nothing to report”) and the author's fawning over “Jackie.” 16 pages of b&w photos. (Nov. 15)

Reviewed on: 08/04/2008
Release date: 11/01/2008
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 289 pages - 978-0-7867-2634-9
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-0-306-81843-1
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