If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away---Henry David Thoreau

Sunday, May 29, 2011

J. C. Leyendecker: Early 20th century Illustrator

I recently bought a book of an artist who is not a well known name, not even to myself----J.C. Leyendecker. He was one of the top illustrators in the U.S. in the early 20th century. He was known for his illustrations for the Arrow Collar Man and the covers for the Saturday Evening Post (over 300), before Norman Rockwell. Norman Rockwell was a friend of Leyendecker and was a pallbearer at his funeral. Rockwell's early work reflects the artist's influence, along with his Americana images.

Charles Breach, Leyendecker's gay partner, was the original model for the Arrow Collar Man. There is a noticeable homerotic aesthetic in his artwork. His brother Frank was a great illustrator as well, but his work was overshadowed by J.C.

Leyendecker's work is recognizable for its stylized rendition of the idealized human form with angular geometric brush strokes. He helped popularize the images of Santa Claus and the New Year's baby and his style has influenced many modern illustrators.

1 comment:

  1. i am doing my masters dissertation on A&F. where did your JC.L photos come from? I want to use them in my paper.