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Classic Covers: Happy Birthday, J.C. Leyendecker

Published: March 23, 2012

We’re celebrating the spring birthday of our most prolific cover artist with three very different springtime covers. His 1931 cover we call “Queen of Spring” is what J.C. Leyendecker (March 23, 1874–July 25, 1951) was known for: an elaborate tapestry of a painting, lush in detail.

Leyendecker also painted delightful cover characters like the very different spring queen on the May 15, 1937 cover: a take-no-prisoners woman ready for spring cleaning.

Norman Rockwell stopped at 321 Post covers out of deference to the artist he idolized, J.C. Leyendecker, who painted 322. “Between 1900 and 1945, Joe Leyendecker painted like a machine gun,” Lawrence S. Cutler and Judy Goffman Cutler wrote in their 2008 book about Leyendecker.

He was adept at sweet depictions of children, like the two on his April 4, 1908 cover all dressed-up for Easter.

Leyendecker painted covers for a number of magazines in addition to the Post, but perhaps ironically, he is best remembered as the illustrator who created the handsome “Arrow Collar Man.” But from 1899 all the way through two world wars, he created a glorious body of work for The Saturday Evening Post for which we are most grateful.

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  • Queen of Spring is one of Leyendecker’s “ultimate” Saturday Evening Post covers. It really is. His works of art are just jaw dropping. No wonder he was Norman Rockwell’s idol; for goooood reason.

    So happy belated 138th birthday Mr. Leyendecker. Please know your work is very, very appreciated by many people, in particular by those like Diana Denny and myself who absolutely LOVE The Saturday Evening Post–from every era–cover to cover!