Among them was the French artist Jean Dupas, born in Bordeaux and renowned for his large-scale mural paintings. Dupas was commissioned to decorate the Grand Salon, one of the Normandie’s largest spaces.
He devised a scheme depicting the history of navigation on 56 painted glass panels conceived in a technique known as verre eglomisé and featuring maritime and mythological subjects.
The Normandie became stranded in New York in 1939 and, unable to return to Le Havre, was repurposed as a US troop ship and its interiors removed in 1942. Many of its interior fittings survive, and on June 6 Sotheby’s will be offering eight of Dupas’ panels in its Design sale in New York.
They have an equally grand post-Normandie provenance. They were purchased in 1981 by Malcolm Forbes as a wedding gift for his son hours before the wedding and have come from the Forbes family collections. The eight panels, measuring 8ft 2in x 10ft 1in (2.5 x 3m) and depicting part of the myth of the Birth of Aphrodite, are expected to make around $1m.