Joseph Christian Leyendecker was born 142 years ago today in Montbaur, Germany.
After studying at the Chicago Art Institute and the Académie Julian in Paris, he launched a tremendously successful career in illustration, producing 322 covers for the Saturday Evening Post and numerous illustrations for Arrow Collars, Kuppenheimer Suits and Interwoven Socks.
The 1930s, a tough decade for nearly everyone, saw a decline in his career and Leyendecker became increasingly reclusive although he did continue illustrating covers for the Post.
With World War II came a series of commissions from the US War Department for recruitment and war bonds, and Leyendecker’s final cover for the Saturday Evening Post in 1943.
J.C. Leyendecker died on July 25, 1951 in New Rochelle, New York. One of his pallbearers was Norman Rockwell, to whom he had been both a friend and major influence.
When vintage clothing enthusiasts share an illustration from the roaring twenties on Facebook or Instagram, there’s a good chance it was done by Leyendecker, whose work resonates as strongly today as it did nearly 100 years ago.
- Wikipedia contributors, “J. C. Leyendecker,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=J._C._Leyendecker&oldid=705820352 (accessed March 23, 2016).
- “J.C. Leyendecker in the Golden Age of Illustration.” Traditional Fine Arts Organization. Accessed March 23, 2016. http://www.tfaoi.com/aa/8aa/8aa8.htm.