A Triumph of French Art Deco Design
Designed to present the pinnacle of French artistry and celebrate national pride, the S.S. Normandie was built at the French port of Saint-Nazaire for the Compagnie Générale Transatlantique and entered service in 1935. Over 1,000 feet in length and outfitted with four turbo-electric motors, the Normandie was the largest and fastest ship of its time. It remains the most powerful steam and turbo-electric propelled passenger ship ever built. The Normandie was likewise exceptional for its luxuriously appointed interiors, decorated by some of the finest French architects and designers of the age, including Roger-Henri Expert, Jean de Brunhoff, Jean Dupas, and Jean-Maurice Rothschild. Painter, designer, and sculptor Jean Dunand was commissioned to decorate the ship's first-class smoking room and part of the first-class salon. The present lot is a small-scale variation of the final design seen in the period photograph above.