Joseph Christian Leyendecker ('J. C.' or 'Joe') was born on March 23, 1874, in Montabaur, Germany, to Peter Leyendecker (1838–1916) and Elizabeth Oreseifen Leyendecker (1845–1905). He had three siblings: an older brother, Adolph A. Leyendecker (1869–1938); an older sister, Augusta Mary Leyendecker (1872–1957); and a younger brother, Frank Xavier Leyendecker (1876–1924). In 1882, the Leyendecker family immigrated to Chicago, Illinois, where Elizabeth's uncle had founded the successful McAvoy Brewing Company. After working in late adolescence for a Chicago engraving firm, J. Manz & Company, and completing his first commercial commission of sixty Bible illustrations for the Powers Brothers Company, J. C. sought formal artistic training at the school of the Chicago Art Institute. After studying drawing and anatomy under John H. Vanderpoel at the Chicago Art Institute, J. C. and younger brother Frank enrolled in the Académie Julian in Paris for a year, where they were exposed to the work of Toulouse-Lautrec, Jules Chéret, and also Alfons Mucha, a leader in the French Art Nouveau movement.
Joseph Christian "J.C." Leyendecker (March 23, 1874 – July 25, 1951) was one of the pre-eminent American illustrators of the early 20 century. Leyendecker lived for most of his life with Charles Beach, the Arrow Collar Man, on whom the stylish men in his artwork were modeled. Leyendecker left a tidy estate equally split between his sister and Beach. Leyendecker is buried alongside parents and brother Frank at Woodlawn Cemetery in Bronx, New York. Charles Beach's burial location is unknown.
Leyendecker's Arrow Collar Man, as well as the images he later created for Kuppenheimer Suits and Interwoven Socks, came to define the fashionable American male during the early decades of the twentieth century. Leyendecker often used his favorite model and possible-lover Charles Beach (1886–1952).
In 1914, the Leyendeckers, accompanied by Charles Beach, moved into a large home and art studio in New Rochelle, New York, where J. C. would reside for the rest of his life. During the first World War, in addition to his many commissions for magazine covers and men's fashion advertisements, J. C. also painted recruitment posters for the United States military and the war effort.
The 1920s were in many ways the apex of Leyendecker's career, with some of his most recognizable work being completed during this time. Modern advertising had come into its own, with Leyendecker widely regarded as among the pre-eminent American commercial artists. This popularity extended beyond the commercial, and into Leyendecker's personal life, where he and Charles Beach hosted large galas attended by people of consequence from all sectors. The parties they hosted at their New Rochelle home/studio were important social and celebrity making events.
As the 1920s marked the apex of J. C. Leyendecker's career, so the 1930s marked the beginning of its decline. Around 1930-31, Cluett, Peabody, & Co. ceased using Leyendecker's illustrations in its advertisements, now for shirts and ties as the collar industry seriously declined after 1921. During this time, the always shy Leyendecker became more and more reclusive, rarely speaking with people outside of his sister Mary Augusta and Charles (Frank had died in 1924 as a result of an addiction-riddled lifestyle).
Many biographers, with a variety of agendas, have speculated on J. C. Leyendecker's sexuality, often attributing the apparent homoerotic aesthetic of his work to a homosexual identity. Without question, Leyendecker excelled at depicting male homosocial spaces (locker rooms, clubhouses, tailoring shops) and extraordinarily handsome young men in curious poses or exchanging inexplicable glances. Moreover, Leyendecker never married and lived with another man, Charles Beach, for much of his adult life. However, other authors more attuned to the history of gender and sexuality, are reluctant to retrospectively impose a sexual identity on Leyendecker or attribute the visual form of his work solely to the illustrator's sexual identity, desires, or practices.
While Beach often organized the famous gala-like social gatherings that Leyendecker was known for in the 1920s, he apparently also contributed largely to Leyendecker's social isolation in his later years. Beach reportedly forbade outside contact with the artist in the last months of his life.
Due to his fame as an illustrator, Leyendecker was able to indulge in a very luxurious lifestyle which in many ways embodied the decadence of the Roaring Twenties. However, when commissions began to wane in the 1930s, he was forced to curtail spending considerably. By the time of his death, Leyendecker had let all of the household staff at his New Rochelle estate go, with he and Beach attempting to maintain the extensive estate themselves. Leyendecker left a tidy estate equally split between his sister and Beach. Leyendecker is buried alongside parents and brother Frank at Woodlawn Cemetery in Bronx, New York. Charles Beach's burial location is unknown. (From Wikipedia)
In 2008 Laurence S. Cutler and Judy Goffman Cutler released "J.C. Leyendecker". Product Description: One of the most prolific and successful artists of the Golden Age of American Illustration, J. C. Leyendecker captivated audiences throughout the first half of the 20th century. Leyendecker is best known for his creation of the archetype of the fashionable American male with his advertisements for Arrow Collar. These images sold to an eager public the idea of a glamorous lifestyle, the bedrock upon which modern advertising was built. He also was the creator instantly recognizable icons, such as the New Year’s baby and Santa Claus, that are to this day an integral part of the lexicon of Americana and was commissioned to paint more Saturday Evening Post covers than any other artist.
Leyendecker lived for most of his adult life with Charles Beach, the Arrow Collar Man, on whom the stylish men in his artwork were modeled.
The first book about the artist in more than 30 years, J. C. Leyendecker features his masterworks, rare paintings, studies, and other artwork, including the 322 covers he did for the Post. With a revealing text that delves into both his artistic evolution and personal life, J. C. Leyendecker restores this iconic image maker’s rightful position in the pantheon of great American artists.
Burial: Woodlawn Cemetery, Bronx, Bronx County, New York, USA, Plot: White Oak Plot, Section 18 Lot West 1925
Days of Love: Celebrating LGBT History One Story at a Time by Elisa Rolle
Paperback: 760 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (July 1, 2014)
Amazon: Days of Love: Celebrating LGBT History One Story at a Time
Days of Love chronicles more than 700 LGBT couples throughout history, spanning 2000 years from Alexander the Great to the most recent winner of a Lambda Literary Award. Many of the contemporary couples share their stories on how they met and fell in love, as well as photos from when they married or of their families. Included are professional portraits by Robert Giard and Stathis Orphanos, paintings by John Singer Sargent and Giovanni Boldini, and photographs by Frances Benjamin Johnson, Arnold Genthe, and Carl Van Vechten among others. “It's wonderful. Laying it out chronologically is inspired, offering a solid GLBT history. I kept learning things. I love the decision to include couples broken by death. It makes clear how important love is, as well as showing what people have been through. The layout and photos look terrific.” Christopher Bram “I couldn’t resist clicking through every page. I never realized the scope of the book would cover centuries! I know that it will be hugely validating to young, newly-emerging LGBT kids and be reassured that they really can have a secure, respected place in the world as their futures unfold.” Howard Cruse “This international history-and-photo book, featuring 100s of detailed bios of some of the most forward-moving gay persons in history, is sure to be one of those bestsellers that gay folk will enjoy for years to come as reference and research that is filled with facts and fun.” Jack Fritscher
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