A set of eight art deco panels from the dining room of the SS Normandie achieved $1.3m in a New York auction yesterday.
Designed by Jean-Theodore Dupas, the mural was inspired by Greek mythology. This three metre section shows part of a scene from the birth of Aphrodite.
The eight glass panels measure three metres across
The Normandie was launched in 1935 and was the fastest passenger ship in the world. Following the outbreak of the second world war in 1939, it was docked in New York harbour.
As the war ground on, the US Navy decided to make use of the ship as a transporter.
Its luxurious fittings were removed and placed in storage, which proved fortunate – as the Normandie caught fire and sank a few days later.
Jodi Pollack, co-head of 20th century design at Sotheby’s, said: "Dupas's spectacular panels from the Normandie are one of the most storied icons from the Art Deco era, and it is unprecedented for the market to see a series of eight panels that form such a strong, dynamic pictorial scene.
"Collectors have always been fascinated with the Normandie, perhaps because of the miraculous events that led to the survival of its extraordinary art and furnishings.
“There is a growing appreciation for 20th century design that exhibits superlative quality, rarity and pedigree, and these panels are best in class."
The panels were acquired by billionaire Malcolm Forbes as a wedding gift for his son in the mid-1980s.
They used to hang in the lobby of the Forbes building in Manhattan, up until its closure in 2014.
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