France Compagnie Générale Transatlantique 1855 - 1955 100th Anniversary 68.38mm Bronze Medal 130 grams by Marcel Renard with cardboard case
Edge: Triangular Mintmark of Arthus-Bertrand BRONZE
The Compagnie Générale Transatlantique typically known overseas as the French Line, was a French shipping company. Established in 1855 by the brothers Émile and Issac Péreire under the name Compagnie Générale Maritime, the company was entrusted by the French government to transport mails to North America. In 1861, the name of the company was changed to Compagnie Générale Transatlantique. The company's first vessel, SS Washington, had its maiden voyage on 15 June 1864. After a period of trials and errors in the late 19th century, the company, under the direction of its presidents Jules Charles-Roux and John Dal Piaz, gained fame in the 1910s and 1930s with its prestigious ocean liners such as SS Paris, SS Île de France, and especially SS Normandie. Fragilized by the Second World War, the company regained its fame in 1962 with the famous SS France, which suffered major competition from air transport and was retired from service in 1974. In 1977, the company merged with the Compagnie des Messageries Maritimes to form the Compagnie Générale Maritime. Then, in 1996, the company Compagnie Générale Maritime merged to form the CMA CGM. For numismatists the company is known for its excellent issues of medals commemorating the launches of its fleet by some of the best known French medallists of the time.
Marcel Renard (1893-1974) studied first in Lyon under his father, the sculptor Leopold Renard, subsequently with Jean-Marie Boucher and Auguste Patey at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Renard produced several hundred works for the Paris Mint
Renard also realized public monuments in the round, fountains and sculptures for the Salon International des Arts Decoratifs of 1925, which gave birth to the expression Art Deco. Marcel Renard won a gold medal at this event.
In addition to his work as a medallic sculptor, Renard created elaborate interior decors for luxury ocean liners, such as the Ile de France. In this capacity, he collaborated regularly with friend and colleague, the monumental sculptor Alfred Janniot (Rockefeller Center, Palais de Tokyo.) Renard also realized numerous interior decorations with the architect Roux-Spitz.
The Compagnie Generale Transatlantic series of medals is an attractive group, with interesting contributions not only from Marcel Renard, but also Raymond Delamarre and Maurice Delannoy.