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99-015 "Normandie - Sheer Elegance"
1995, Acrylic on Canvas Board

Graced with an amazing design that gave her both speed and beauty, the astonishingly advanced French superliner Normandie slices effortlessly through the sea in the late 1930's. The fastest passenger ship in the world when she debuted in 1935, Normandie found herself shortly thereafter in a speed duel with the fractionally smaller British Queen Mary. Lacking Normandie's revolutionary hull design, the stately Queen compensated with brute force from her massive power plant.

Although the race was close, the Queen eventually proved the victor - but the French were quick to point out that it took their rival thousands of extra horsepower to pull it off. Technically, it was the gently curving lines of her hull that made Normandie faster at the same power expense. But work of art that she was, she inspired her captain to wax poetic. "They are, after all, French horses." Sadly, this lovely ship was accidentally burned at her dock in New York in February, 1942.

Chris Butler

Copyright 1994-2003 by Chris Butler
More of Chris Butler's art can be viewed at Novagraphics Space Art.