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Christie's to offer Hekking's Mona Lisa
Early 17th Century Italian School, Follower of Leonardo da Vinci, Hekking’s Mona Lisa. Oil on canvas. Estimate : €200,000-300,000. © Christie's Images Ltd 2021.

PARIS.- Christie's will present a famous early replica of the Mona Lisa in this beautiful interpretation known as the Hekking's Mona Lisa, named after its owner in the 1950s, Raymond Hekking (1866-1977), who acquired it from an antique dealer in a small village in the Nice area. This work and its history illustrate the fascination that the Mona Lisa and the aura of Leonardo da Vinci have always held. Consigned in the south of France through our regional representative Fabienne Albertini, this spectacular work of art with its incredible history and quality of execution is estimated at €200,000-300,000.

Pierre Etienne, International Director of Old Master Paintings: "Art challenges, fascinates, sometimes obsesses. Hekking's Mona Lisa that we are pleased to present bears the name of its owner and inventor, Mr Raymond Hekking (1886 - 1977). She is the perfect illustration of the fascination the Mona Lisa has always inspired and which she exerts more and more. She is the dream of a man with a passion for art. She is his Ideal. Raymond Hekking was her staunch defender among art historians and the world's media in the 1960s. She will be his Muse, he will be her Poet.

Raymond Hekking fascinated the world's media by trying to cast doubt on the authenticity of the original, on panel, preserved in the Louvre Museum in favour of his work. Raymond Hekking then devoted his energy to defend his version, becoming an unparalleled communicator, inviting the press, television and all the media from around the world to his village in Nice. He did not hesitate to challenge the Louvre to prove the authenticity of their version. His theory was to question the restitution of the authentic work in favour of a copy after the famous theft of the work from the Louvre on 22 August 1911 by Vincenzo Perugia.

The 1960s were a particularly important period for Mr. Hekking, who used the media intensity of the journey of the Mona Lisa, first loaned to the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. and then to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, to communicate with American journalists. The Pathé film is a perfect demonstration of this effort.

It is certainly one of the most recognizable images in the world. The original version of the Mona Lisa entered the royal collections of François I, in France, shortly after 1517. Several copies were made from the 17th century onwards, including our own, which is an early 17th century remake of Leonardo's Mona Lisa. The columns on each side are not included in this version. The image remains as striking as ever, however, and fascinates, as does Mr Raymond Hekking's obstinacy, marked by personal conviction and poetry.

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