This three-panel ceiling mural graced the first class cocktail lounge on promenade deck and is typified by more than 300 characters showing the funny side of life on board the America. On each of the three paintings the name of the ship is encrypted in flag code, spelling A M E R I C A.
The first panel shows the daily recreational activities of the passengers on board in the swimming pool, gym, hairdresser and the sports deck. Also shown is the visit of passengers at their pets kennels. The second panel shows dance and fun in the ballroom, couples holding hands while taking a moonlight stroll on deck and dinner time in the dining room. The third panel is titled "Behind the scenes" and shows the operations in the engine room, the laundry, the galley and on the bridge.
A special feature of the people shown on these murals is that none of them has a face.
The three muralss were illuminated indirectly which gave them a distinctive shine in the otherwise darker toned cocktail lounge. Interesting to mention is also the color used to paint by Alajalov. It was egg tempera, a mixture of egg yolk, linseed oil and water, which was already known in ancient times.
Central ceiling mural aboard America.
Detail of the center ceiling mural: The cocktailbar of America (Chairs, wall decoration, bar counter and bar stools are clearly resembling the rooms real furnishing. compare: Tour).
Constantin Alajalov at work on one of the murals.
whereabouts of the artwork: Stayed aboard the ship until 1994. Removed from the wreck and stored on Fuerteventura. Some parts have strong moisture damage and washed out coloring. Part of the damage is due to the location of these murals in the cocktail lounge, which was torn open during the split of the ship's hull which explains some of the water damage and cracks.
about the artist: Constantin Alajalov (1900 - 1987) was best known for his illustrations on the covers of various U.S. magazines, including Vanity Fair, Fortune, The Saturday Evening Post and The New Yorker.
Born in Russia, he fled from the 1917 October Revolution to the United States, where he spent the rest of his life until he died in 1987 in New York.
Detail: Ball room of America (Chairs and tables clearly resembling rooms real furnishing. compare: Tour).
Detail: Shopping fever in America's shop (glass shelves resemble original ones. compare: Tour).
Relaxing on deck (red deckchairs resemble the ones used aboard).
Kennels with tree stump, a special amenity aboard America for four-legged passangers, painted on one of Alajalov's murals. The whole scene is illuminated by moonlight.
Total view of one of the three murals. The flag code on the lower part spells A M E R I C A.