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Reynolda House Museum of American Art in Winston-Salem, N.C., will present the work of Joseph Christian (J.C.) Leyendecker, one of the most prolific and sought-after artists of the Golden Age of American Illustration. Reynolda is the opening venue for a national planned tour of the exhibition.
J.C. Leyendecker (1894–1951) helped shape American visual culture over a five-decade career, both molding and reflecting the country around him through his illustrations. His images became an integral part of American life in the first half of the last century. Between 1896 and 1950, Leyendecker illustrated more than 400 magazine covers for the nation’s trade and general interest publications, including The Saturday Evening Post, for which he created 322 cover paintings. With his instantly identifiable style—“The Leyendecker Look”—he helped shape the image of a nation, producing dozens of enduring icons and creating some of the earliest national advertising brands. Leyendecker’s approach to his own career influenced an entire generation of younger artists, most notably Norman Rockwell, who observed, “There wasn’t an illustrator in the country who could draw better.” In his commercial work, Leyendecker created the famed Arrow Collar Man, who came to define the ideal fashionable American male of the Roaring Twenties. Leyendecker based the Arrow Collar Man on his favorite model and lifelong partner, Charles Beach.
Leyendecker and the Golden Age of American Illustration includes 42 original paintings and 101 Post covers from the National Museum of American Illustration in Newport, Rhode Island and the American Illustrators Gallery in New York, as well as other materials related to Leyendecker’s work in advertising throughout his five-decade career.
For more information, visit reynoldahouse.org/leyendecker.