'Memorabilia on the Orient Express' at Christie's golden era rail sale


Collectors will have a chance to explore, and own, art deco artefacts from the classic era of the Orient Express rail network on September 27.

Christie's is lining up a sale of souvenirs from the international sleeper-train company, including prints, posters, works of Impressionist, modern and contemporary art, furniture and works of  art, porcelain and silver. 

An icon of the Art Deco movement, the legendary Venice Simplon-Orient-Express train epitomised the early 20th century voyage, in a time where grace rhymed with elegance.

The "Orient-Express" style knew its peak in the 1920s, with the collaboration of artists-decorators such as Prou and René Lalique.

A René Lalique triptych of female and male silhouettes from
the Cote d'Azur Pullman Express train will appear for sale
at Christie's

Their designs appeared in trains which travelled between Paris, Vienna, Istanbul and several capitals across Europe since 1883, and reflected the excellence of 20th century design.

From the Cote d'Azur Pullman Express train, which was in service in 1929, come several decorative panels in molded white glass, pressed on a silver background and signed by René Lalique.

These include two remarkable triptychs with female and male silhouettes, along with grape patterns estimated at €40,000-60,000. Other panels by Lalique include bunches of flowers encased in a sycamore trim. Estimates range from €7,000 to €35,000.

The "Orient-Express" peaked in the 1920s, combining art deco
and comfortable travel to renowned effect

Other highlights in the sale include small-scale models, among them a miniature Pullman lounge, whose panels by  René Lalique were decorated floral design (estimated at €40,000-60,000).

Also among the models are a dining car, furnished with armchairs entitled "bridge", again with panels ornamented with inlaid design (estimated at €15,000-25,000) and another one with inlaid and mahogany (estimated at €12,000-18,000).

The model trains section, in particular, should be worth a closer look at the Christie's sale with a number of auction successes in this unique collecting niche already recorded in 2011.

Christie's auction, L'âge d'or du rail - Souvenir de la Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-lits, will be held in Paris on September 27.


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