Reader’s Digest front and back cover, May 1966
Illustration: “Ponies of the Deep” by Andre Durenceau
Andre Maurice Durenceau (1904-1985) was a French-born U.S. citizen who was a painter and muralist. He designed textiles for the United Piece Dye Works in Manhattan. At this job he met Mrs. Kay Kaplan, also a designer. In Hollywood, he was given a job as color adviser to Technicolor Inc. Mrs. Kaplan also went to Hollywood (she was persuaded by Durenceau she would be a more successful manager than artist). Her first job as manager was to get commissions to decorate Hollywood homes. He painted murals of horses and gazelles for William Haines, a mural for Leila Hyams, decorated pianos for Joan Crawford, Lionel Barrymore, Lilyan Tashman. He even illustrated Oscar Wilde’s Selfish Giant and an Anthology of Immoral Poems for the Walpole Press.
One Sunday, he decided to sculpt. He lacked materials, but that didn’t stop him. He made a statue from coat hangers, the hinges of an ironing board, and some mud. His ambition was to give California an open-air windowless architecture.