SPECIAL ADVISORY: For the health and safety of our visitors and staff, the Yale University Art Gallery is closed to the public, including all Yale ID holders, until further notice. We apologize for the inconvenience.

American Decorative Arts
Designer: Jean Luce, French, 1895–1964
Manufacturer: Sarreguemines, French, 1790–1983
Client: Compagnie Générale Transatlantique, French, 1861–1977

Ashtray from S.S. Normandie

ca. 1936


3/4 × 3 1/8 × 2 5/8 in. (1.91 × 7.94 × 6.67 cm)
Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Marvin Arons, B.S. 1952
In 1935 the Compagnie Générale Transatlantique launched the S.S. Normandie, which was the largest and fastest passenger ship yet to be built. It was also one of the most extravagant ships, with interior fittings designed by the preeminent names of the French luxury trade, including René Lalique, Jacques-Émile Ruhlmann, Jean Dupas, and Raymond Subes. Even the ashtrays were commissioned from the noted ceramicist Jean Luce. The sophistication and speed of the Normandie captured the public imagination, and many of the passengers lucky enough to sail on it kept the ashtrays as mementos. In fact, so many ashtrays disappeared during the first few years that the name of the ship was removed from the side to make them less appealing as souvenirs. This early example became a souvenir for Connecticut-native Bernard Shield when he sailed on the Normandie in September 1936.
Manufactured in Dijon, France
20th century
Containers - Ceramics

Bernard A. Shields, 1936-1985; by descent to his nephew Marvin Arons, 1986-2012


“Acquisitions,” https://artgallery.yale.edu/sites/default/files/files/Pub_Bull_acquisitions_2012.pdf (accessed December 21, 2012).

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.