Skip to Main Content

Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci

January 9 – February 3, 1963
Main Floor, West Sculpture Hall

This exhibition is no longer on view at the National Gallery.

Overview: This special one-picture loan was made directly to the President of the United States and the American people by the government of the French Republic. The French Minister of Cultural Affairs, André Malraux, accompanied the painting to the United States. All arrangements were handled by the White House. A special viewing was held on Tuesday, January 8, for President and Mrs. John F. Kennedy, the Cabinet, the Supreme Court, the Congress, and the Diplomatic Corps.

The painting was installed on a baffle draped in red velvet, in the center of the West Sculpture Hall, and was guarded around the clock by United States Marines. The Gallery added 4 hours of viewing time per day. This was the first time the Gallery was open every evening. Because of the crowds, visitors had to wait in line up to 2 hours. The painting was also shown at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York from February 7 to March 4, and returned to France aboard the S.S. United States on March 7.

Attendance: 518,525

Brochure: On the Occasion of the Exhibition of the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci, text prepared by the Museé du Louvre. Washington, DC: National Gallery of Art, 1963.

Other Venues: Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, February 7–March 4, 1963

Leonardo da Vinci
Italian, 1452 - 1519
First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy and the 1963 Exhibition of the "Mona Lisa"
Audio, Released: January 13, 2009, (54:46 minutes)