Joseph Christian Leyendecker


Joseph Christian Leyendecker


Nationality: American

Born in Germany in 1874, Joseph Christian Leyendecker immigrated to the United States with his parents and younger brother Frank in 1882. The family settled down in Chicago, where Joseph’s mother’s uncle had founded a successful brewing company. There, he spent his adolescence working for an engraving firm, completing his first commercial commission of sixty Bible illustrations. Having both the financial and emotional support of his family, Leyendecker sought formal artistic training at the Chicago Art Institute, and he later studied at the Académie Julian in Paris with his brother, Frank, where he was exposed to the works of Toulouse-Lautrec, Chéret and Alphonse Mucha, a pioneer in the French Art Nouveau movement. Returning to Illinois in 1899, J.C. received his first commission for a Saturday Evening Post cover—the catalyst for what developed into his forty-four year relationship with the most popular magazine in the country. The collaboration would ultimately produce over 300 cover illustrations, many of which transformed household traditions and became iconic visual images, such as his New Year Baby series and his portrayal of Santa Claus as a fat jolly man in a big red suit. The custom of giving flowers as a gift on Mother’s Day even originated from Leyendecker’s May 30, 1915 Saturday Evening Post cover, which depicts a young bellhop with hyacinths. What made Leyendecker such a monumental artist, aside from his unrivaled draftsmanship, was his ability to draw upon common aspects of the era’s culture—from how men wore their suits to how they served their country—and turn them into a narrative that captivated his audience. Joseph Christian Leyendecker’s work so artfully captures the essence of his time, and yet his characters and compositions remain remarkably timeless.


Joseph Christian Leyendecker Original Art Values Sold at Auction

JOSEPH CHRISTIAN LEYENDECKER (American, 1874-1951) Thanksgiving, 1628-1928: 300 Years (Pilgrim and Football Player), The...
JOSEPH CHRISTIAN LEYENDECKER (American, 1874-1951)Thanksgiving, 1628-1928: 300 Years (Pilgrim and Football Player), The ...
Lot 68068
Auction 5211
Saturday, May 2, 2015
Joseph Christian Leyendecker (American, 1874-1951) To the Vanquished, Saturday Evening Post cover, March 10, 1934 Oil...
Joseph Christian Leyendecker (American, 1874-1951)To the Vanquished, Saturday Evening Post cover, March 10, 1934Oil ...
Lot 68124
Auction 5275
Saturday, November 12, 2016
JOSEPH CHRISTIAN LEYENDECKER (American, 1874-1951) Honeymoon, The Saturday Evening Post cover, July 17, 1926 Oil on ca...
JOSEPH CHRISTIAN LEYENDECKER (American, 1874-1951)Honeymoon, The Saturday Evening Post cover, July 17, 1926Oil on ca...
Lot 78299
Auction 5126
Friday, April 12, 2013
Joseph Christian Leyendecker (American, 1874-1951) The Rescue of Theophilus Newbegin, The Saturday Evening Post cover...
Joseph Christian Leyendecker (American, 1874-1951)The Rescue of Theophilus Newbegin, The Saturday Evening Post cover, ...
Lot 69206
Auction 5330
Friday, November 3, 2017
Joseph Christian Leyendecker (American, 1874-1951) 1776, The Saturday Evening Post cover, July 4, 1931 Oil on canvas
Joseph Christian Leyendecker (American, 1874-1951)1776, The Saturday Evening Post cover, July 4, 1931Oil on canvas...
Lot 68145
Auction 5251
Saturday, May 7, 2016

View prices realized on more items like this

PLEASE NOTE: All prices realized reflect the final hammer price PLUS the buyer's premium in auctions that charge a buyer's premium. Each item has a notation at the top of the listing indicating whether that lot included a buyer's premium. All information listed is intended to be as accurate as possible, but errors are possible. Please use this guide carefully and inform us of any inaccuracies.

Art Values

How do you know what's valuable?

Our Art Value Guide provides free information about how to value your Joseph Christian Leyendecker artwork.

Get a FREE auction evaluation

Our experts will evaluate your Joseph Christian Leyendecker artwork for auction or private treaty sale.

Want More Joseph Christian Leyendecker?

Be the first to know when more items from this artist are available by adding it your wantlist.

Interested in selling or consigning?

Learn more about selling or consigning your Joseph Christian Leyendecker artwork with Heritage Auctions.

Other artists with this Nationality