It is wonderful to witness the blossoming of a remarkable career and I had the good fortune in California of watching a friend’s passion turn into award-winning acclamation. Marnie Leslie Davis was a talented young lawyer and legal journalist in Los Angeles, whose fascination with LA history turned into a series of remarkable biographies, starting with Rivers in the Desert: William Mulholland and the Inventing of Los Angeles, which won the Golden Spur Award for Best Non-Fiction Book by the Western Writers of America (www.margaretlesliedavis.com). Marnie went on to write Dark Side of Fortune, a Los Angeles Times bestseller about the triumph and scandal in the life of oil tycoon Edward Doheny and a third acclaimed biography on The Culture Broker: Franklin Murphy and the Transformation of Los Angeles (University of California Press).
Her attention then was drawn to Washington DC and the little-known drama behind the Mona Lisa’s tumultuous voyage to this country in 1963. First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy played a critical role in the painting’s successful debut at the National Gallery and the Met — an 88-day visit that forever changed America’s relationship with high art. The publication of Mona Lisa in Camelot brought Marnie into the national spotlight a few years ago when it was featured in Vanity Fair and on “Good Morning America.”
Marnie has now been invited to speak at the New York Public Library on how the unprecedented, perilous loan of da Vinci’s masterpiece turned was turned by the First Lady into a powerful Cold War symbol of Western ideals . Now that Jacqueline Kennedy is in the headlines again with the release of her historic conversations with Arthur Schlesinger, don’t miss this chance to hear first-hand a riveting account about this First Lady’s diplomatic genius.
New York Public Library: An Art Book: First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy and the 1963 Exhibition of Mona Lisa. Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, Margaret Liebman Berger Forum, Fifth Ave. at 42nd St.Wednesday, October 19, 2011, 6 – 8 p.m. FREE – doors open at 5:30pm. First come, first served.