Ashtray from S.S. Normandie Designer: Jean Luce (French, 1895–1964)
Manufacturer: Sarreguemines (French, 1790–1983)

ca. 1936

American Decorative Arts

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.




3/4 × 3 1/8 × 2 5/8 in. (1.91 × 7.94 × 6.67 cm)

Credit Line

Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Marvin Arons, B.S. 1952

Accession Number



20th century


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 records is ongoing.



Bernard A. Shields (1898–1985), 1936; by descent to his nephew Dr. Marvin S. Arons (1986–2012) and Mrs. Gloria Arons (1941–2019), Woodbridge, Conn., 1985; given to the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn., 2012

  • "Acquisitions," (accessed December 21, 2012).

Object copyright
Additional information

Object/Work type



"CGT" monograpm in brown on the top; "FRENCH LINE" san serif, brown on front long side; "S.S. NORMANDIE" san serif, brown on back long side

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