Synonymous with luxury and style, the Normandie epitomised the Art Deco era.
Built at Saint Nazaire in France, the transatlantic liner was launched at the height of the Deco era in 1935 with many names in this design movement, such as Jean Dunand, Jean Dupas and Raymond Subes, collaborating on the interior décor.
A thousand guests attended an opening soiree on the eve of the departure for its maiden voyage. World events meant the Normandie’s glory days were relatively short-lived, however.
With the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939 the ship was requisitioned to transport troops, its luxurious interior stripped out and the liner renamed the USS Lafayette. A disastrous fire in 1942 rendered the vessel unusable and it was finally scrapped in 1947.
On April 25, the Paris auction firm Tessier Sarrou will dedicate an entire sale at Drouot to the Normandie.
The main component is a massive archive of 2000 photographs documenting the liner’s history from construction and maiden voyage through to its subsequent fate. There are many fascinating views of the interior and exterior evocative of this lost world.
The photos will largely be offered in group lots numbering 360 in total and most carry estimates in the low hundreds, affording opportunities to purchase a period souvenir from the golden age of sea voyages.
*The luxury world of the liner is also celebrated in an exhibition, Ocean Liners: Speed & Style, on show at the Victoria & Albert Museum until June 17, where images of the Normandie feature alongside those of other famous liners such as the Titanic and the Queen Mary.