Joseph Christian Leyendecker received his first commission to paint a Post cover the same year George Horace Lorimer began running them, in 1899. Before Norman Rockwell arrived, no other artist had been so closely identified with the Post. Leyendecker famously created the iconic New Year’s Baby and the pudgy red-garbed rendition of Santa Claus, among other enduring images. Rockwell himself idolized the artist, calling him “a superb draftsman and a fine colorist,” as evidenced here. Leyendecker had an eye for the humor in everyday life, too (as in the case of the ample bathing beauty and her water wings, witnessed by a Post editor, who later described her to Leyendecker), which always delighted readers.
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