SS Nor­mandie mu­rals to be auc­tioned in New York

Palm Beach Daily News - - OPINION - By JAN SJOSTROM

Talk about off-the-wall presents. Guess you’d have to be a big fan of lux­ury pas­sen­ger ships to buy your son a mas­sive mu­ral stripped from the famed ocean liner SS Nor­mandie as a wed­ding gift.

On the big day in 1981, Mal­colm Forbes slipped out to Christie’s to wage a win­ning bid­ding war to ac­quire Jean-Theodore Du­pas’ The Birth of Aphrodite mu­rals for his son, res­i­dent Robert Forbes, and his new wife, Ly­dia, for a then record-break­ing $99,000.

The eight pan­els mea­sur­ing more than 8 feet high and 10 feet wide will go on the block June 6 at Sotheby’s im­por­tant de­sign sale in New York. They’re es­ti­mated at $1 mil­lion.

“It’s not the sort of thing we hung in the house,” Robert Forbes told the New York Times. The mu­rals were dis­played in the fam­ily gallery at the fi­nan­cial mag­a­zine’s head­quar­ters in Man­hat­tan un­til the gallery closed in 2014. Since then they’ve been in stor­age.

“We fig­ured, time to move them to some­body else who I hope will en­joy them,” Forbes told the Times.

The mu­rals were part of a mon­u­men­tal 56-panel set de­pict­ing the His­tory of Nav­i­ga­tion that once dec­o­rated the Art Deco-style Grand Sa­lon of the Nor­mandie, deemed the big­gest, fastest and most el­e­gant pas­sen­ger ship of its time when it set sail in 1935.

The ves­sel’s life was brief. Af­ter the at­tack on Pearl Har­bor, the U.S. gov­ern­ment req­ui­si­tioned the ship, al­ready docked af­ter its home port of La Havre was oc­cu­pied by the Ger­mans, with plans to con­vert it into a troop ship. The ves­sel’s in­te­rior was stripped. Dur­ing the con­ver­sion in 1942, the ship caught fire and cap­sized in New York wa­ters.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.