The Secret History of Jackie Kennedy, the Mona Lisa, and the French Ambassador's Wife

Two of history's most visible women have at least one thing in common: staying power. Nearly three decades after her death, Jackie Kennedy is an inescapable Instagram mainstay, and the Mona Lisa recently had a starring role in the hit Knives Out sequel, Glass Onion. Nicole Alphand hasn't been so lucky—until now.

When the Mona Lisa made its U.S. debut 60 years ago—first hanging at the National Gallery of Art and then at the Metropolitan Museum—the loan from the ­Louvre dazzled nearly 2 million visitors and was considered nothing short of a diplomatic triumph. "In the American capital, the Mona Lisa will be the artistic attraction of all time," British Pathé reported at the time. What was less obvious was the international effort it took to make the loan happen—and the woman who worked in the shadow of a first lady to ensure that it did.


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