J. C. Leyendecker

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J. C. Leyendecker

Joseph Christian Leyendecker was born March 23, 1874. Originally from Germany, Leyendecker immigrated with his family to Chicago, Illinois. Early on in Leyendecker’s life he created 60 illustrations for a Bible company, which were published soon after. After completing the illustrations he decided to get formal training at the Chicago Art Institute. He then spent a year at the Academie Julian in Paris with his brother. He returned to Chicago and by May of the same year he had his first piece of artwork on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post. Leyendecker continued to create 322 covers for the magazine over 44 years. During this time he also continued to do advertisements for many clothing manufactures. He also created the iconic Arrow Collar Man using model and possible lover, Charles Beach. He, like many, created recruitment posters during WWI. He and Beach became social icons by hosting lavish parties and his popularity in the art world increased. But as the 1930s came, his popularity faded. His illustrations were no longer used in ads they had been used in for years. Also, when the editor of The Saturday Evening Post was replaced in 1936, Leyendecker rarely got commissioned for covers. He contributed to the war effort, once again, during WWII and soon he was working for The American Weekly designing covers. He died of a heart attack while working on a cover on July 25, 1951. Shortly after his death, Beach and Leyendecker’s sister sold his original Saturday Evening Post covers.

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