Normandie Panel Auction

Last updated: August 8, 2020

Today I attended a Sotheby’s auction of nine panels from the “Chariot of Thetis” mural from the Grand Lounge of the S. S. Normandie. I’m a huge fan of the Normandie panels, and since I live in NYC, I obviously had to see this sale live.

Video from auction

Sotheby’s Auction Catalog

Images from the catalog, marked as “DESIGN: New York, 29 March 2017”

Nice catalog shows a chair and lights with Sotheby's up top
The cover of the auction catalog for today’s auction
Two internal catalog pages from SS Normandie item auction
Page 87 is where the magic starts! The star of the show here
Catalog pages showing 4 of the panels for sale
Last set of 4 panels from catalog pages at the Sotheby’s auction today

Preview Exhibition

On Tuesday, March 28, 2017 I went to the Sotheby’s preview exhibition with my friend Anna to get a tour of the panels. They were on display in a nice setting located on the 3rd floor of the Sotheby’s headquarters in Manhattan, New York City.

Panels lined up along the wall with chairs from Normandie also for auction
On display for auction preview

Looking directly at the Dupas panels for auction
Jean Dupas paintings from mural on a white wall
Panoramic view of 7 panels for auction at Sotheby’s

Auction Day

Tensions were high, my heart was racing, activity was brisk!

Lot 127 was SOLD at $9000 — but wait, NO!! They stopped and re-started the bids.
There was confusion and bids went on FIRE up to $35,000!!
What happened here? Sold to L0057 on the telephone… WOW.
This piece sold at such a premium due to the figures (the dolphin) compared to the others which are much more abstract.

Lot 128 started at $4800 and sold for $5000

Lot 129 started at $4200 and sold for $5000
Winning bidder L0121

Lot 130 started at around $7000
Winning bidder 10285 for $8000

Lot 131 started at around $5500 and sold for $6500

Lot 132 started at $3000
Winning bidder was my friend Anna!

Lot 133 passed and was unsold

Lot 134 sold $5000 to an online bidder, I think. Things were moving fast and I had a hard time keeping accurate notes.

Lot 135 sold for $3800 online
Winning bidder L10039 (who got this?? email me!)

Photos from Auction Day

Sotheby's auction house in New York City, the room for auctions
View from my seat showing the first (and most expensive)
Attractive blonde gentleman, flanked by two savvy professionals
L to R: Me, the seller, and my friend Anna (a winner!)

Interview with the Seller

NICK: Congratulations!

ROBERT: This was very new for me; I have never been to any auctions before.

NICK: How did you get these panels? Where did they come from?

ROBERT: My father bought the old Hollowbrook Country Club, big in the 30’s and 40’s. in the town of Cortlandt, New York, about 1970, after they went broke. When going through one of the buildings, they found all these panels. Most were sold really cheaply to a new york dentist (Bernstein?, I think) who donated them to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. My father kept 10 panels– I broke one, and these are what was left.


Very exciting! Were you a bidder? Do you have panels to sell? Send me an email to say Hi. I want to buy some panels, or connect buyers and sellers. See more of my Normandie and Jean Dupas-related posts here.

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