A streamlined and modernist look at the attractions and Futurama-inspired architecture that graced the 1939 – 1940 New York World’s Fair. This tremendous and bustling work is by the noted muralist, illustrator, and fine artist Andre Durenceau, who was hired with much fanfare to create murals for the Metals Building at this fair. The theme of the Fair was “The World Of Tomorrow,” and the artist captures the machine age industrial cityscape in great detail with a fluid sense of motion and excitement. The blond haired pin up beauty in the foreground appears to be effortlessly swept into the future by the sheer excitement of the event. Seen are the iconic Theme Center of the fair, the Trylon and Perisphere, along with a dizzying array of planes, trains, and futuristic automobiles. Industrial design really came into its own at this fair thanks to exhibits like the Norman Bel Geddes designed, General Motors sponsored Futurama, and the humanoid smoking robot Electro, which was displayed by Westinghouse.
Andre Durenceau was born in Auray, France on June 1, 1904, and moved to Los Angeles in the late 1920s. In California, he worked in the art department of Technicolor Studios, and became an in demand muralist whose commissions ranged from private Hollywood homes to an epic depiction of Samson and Delilah that was a focal point in the historic Leimert theater. After leaving L.A. for New York City, he continued to create murals for private customers, and became an in demand book illustrator noted for his commanding figural work, and his versatility. This versatility is on display with his work for the World’s Fair. Durenceau’s mural for the New York World’s Fair metal building shows mythological view of the god Poseidon looming over a steel hulled transport ship, an image that stands in counterpoint (in both theme and style) to this cutting edge streamlined “World of Tomorrow” painting.