Armchair (Normandie)

Pierre Patout (French, Tonnerre 1879–1965 Reuil)

Walnut and gilt bronze
H. 34-1/2, W. 22-1/4, D. 20 inches (87.6 x 56.5 x 50.8 cm.)
Credit Line:
Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Irwin R. Berman, 1976
Accession Number:
  • Description

    The noted architect Patout, together with Henri Pacon, was responsible for the layout and decoration of a number of the first-class public spaces on the liner, including the vast dining room, which was more than 300 feet long and 28 feet high and could seat 700 people at 150 tables. The room occupied an interior space with no windows, so Patout and Pacon made up for the lack of natural light by covering the walls with thick slabs of reflective, translucent glass that created a spatially ambiguous atmosphere. The walls were punctuated with ranks of tall columnar lamps, and twelve illuminated glass “fountains” by René-Jules Lalique further
    contributed to the cool glamour of the room.

    This pair of armchairs is from the room’s suite of seating furniture; the machine-woven upholstery incorporates a red shield with two lions passant—a heraldic device symbolizing the French province of Normandie, for which the liner was named and where her home port, Le Havre, is located. Underneath each seat was a mechanism used to anchor the chair to the floor when seas were rough.

  • Provenance

    the liner Normandie, First Class Dining Room, Patout and Pacon, architects

  • References

    Une Exposition Flottante de Tout les Arts Decoratifs Francais, in L'Illustration, no. 4813, 1 juin 1935, p. LIV suppliment (states firm of La Maison Cornille et Cie. executed "tissu-tapisserie" machine tapestry covering of Normandie First Class Dining Room chairs after cartoons by M. Quibel under the direction of the architects Patout and Pacon).

    Baschet, Jacques. L'Oeuvre Decorative de la Normandie in L'Illustration, no. 4813, 1 juin 1935, pp. 200, 202, 213 (ills. First Class Dining Room by Architects Patout and Pacon, showing chairs) p. 208 (gives dimensions of Dining Room as 86 meters long and 9m 50 high, seating capacity 700 people at 150 tables)

  • See also
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History