Jump to content
The Education Forum

The Two First Ladies - Vanity Fair article and JFK/RFK archives

Recommended Posts

The Newest Issue of Vanity Fair features a fascinating article about Jackie Kennedy and how her relationship with André Malraux resulted in the painting of the Mona Lisa, being sent from the Louvre in France to the United States in 1962.

I have also included a weblink to various Vanity Fair articles which chronicle JFK, RFK with regards to various topics and time periods.

The Two First Ladies

It began on May 11, 1962, as a spur-of-the-moment promise by France’s minister of culture, André Malraux, dazzled by Jacqueline Kennedy: he would send the Mona Lisa to America. Then, as Presidents John F. Kennedy and Charles de Gaulle tussled over nuclear policy, the Cuban missile crisis erupted. In an excerpt from her new book, the author tells how Mrs. Kennedy turned the unprecedented, perilous loan of da Vinci’s masterpiece into a powerful Cold War symbol of Western ideals.

by Margaret Leslie Davis November 2008

Excerpted from Mona Lisa in Camelot, by Margaret Leslie Davis, to be published this month by Da Capo Press, a member of the Perseus Books Group; © 2008 by the author.

Almost immediately following the inauguration of John F. Kennedy, Jacqueline Kennedy announced her plans to make the White House a “showcase for great American art and artists.” As White House adviser Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. astutely observed, Jackie’s response to life was aesthetic rather than intellectual or moralistic; in 1951, during her senior year at college, she had won Vogue magazine’s Prix de Paris, a writing contest that awarded the winner an internship at the popular fashion magazine and six months in Paris. In her essay Jackie said that the three men in history she would most like to have known were French poet Charles Baudelaire, Irish playwright Oscar Wilde, and Russian ballet impresario Sergey Diaghilev. If she could be the overall art director of the 20th century, she wrote, “watching everything from a chair hanging in space, it is their theories that I would apply to my period, their poems that I would have music and paintings and ballets composed to.”

Jackie’s admiration for all things French was widely known, including the fact that she preferred the French pronunciation of her given name. She had a degree in French literature and was captivated by the fiction of André Malraux, author of La Condition Humaine, which won the Prix Goncourt literary prize in 1933 and elevated Malraux to global attention. He was one of the striking figures and truly original minds of the era, and Jackie was powerfully drawn to his ideas about culture, humanity, and social justice........

Here is the link mentioned above.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in

Sign In Now
  • Create New...