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corner ...finding that Mona was missing
A Parisian artist named Louis Béroud, who made his living by copying famous paintings for the tourists, arrived at the Louvre on Tuesday morning, August 22, 1911, to paint the Mona Lisa. Béroud was less surprised than irritated
painting by Louis Beroud
when, upon entering the Salon Carré with his easel and paints, he found a bare wall with four empty hooks in the place where the Mona Lisa had hung. Béroud roused a sleepy old guard and inquired, "Où est La Joconde? She is missing!"

According to author Seymour Reit, "The guard went into the gallery and saw the empty space and said, 'Naw, they've probably got it upstairs again. They're photographing it or fixing the frame.' The Louvre had recently built a photo studio – don't forget this is 1911, and photographing artworks was still a very new and exciting concept – so everyone assumed it was being photographed."

Béroud waited, but by 11:00 AM, the artist had grown impatient. "So he bribed the guard to go and find out what was happening in the photo studio," says Reit. "The guard went up to the studio, came back green in color and said, 'It's not there!' At that point, everybody panicked."


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