J.C. Leyendecker (171-1951), "Forging a New Year," 1930

J.C. Leyendecker (1874-1951), “Forging a New Year,” December 27, 1930 cover of “The Saturday Evening Post.”

Admired by Norman Rockwell as a master in the field, Joseph Christian Leyendecker (1874-1951) was one of the preeminent illustrators of the early twentieth century. Often remembered for his beautifully conceived posters and advertisements—particularly those featuring The Arrow Collar Man—he also created 322 covers for The Saturday Evening Post (one more than Norman Rockwell).

As one of the Post‘s top cover artists, from 1903 to 1943 he was commissioned to do holiday issue covers including Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, Valentine’s Day, July 4th and the forerunner of Presidents Day. He employed the Pilgrim and the turkey to signify Thanksgiving, Uncle Sam for July 4th and, in 1906, created the icon of the new-born baby as an emblem of the New Year. This became his own trademark. After many years of interpreting the holidays, Leyendecker managed to generate fresh ideas, execute them with conviction and give them amusing twists of humor.

Learn more about this influential artist in the upcoming exhibition, J.C. Leyendecker and The Saturday Evening Post, on view at Norman Rockwell Museum from March 21 through June 14, 2015. Sponsored by William Hargreaves, Valerie and George Kennedy, and Carol Konner, the exhibition will feature all 322 of the artist’s Post covers, as well as original paintings and related objects.

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