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Joseph Christian Leyendecker

Joseph Christian Leyendecker

Paintings

Nationality: American

Biography:
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

Item Realized
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
$365,000
Joseph Christian Leyendecker (American, 1874-1951) Living Mannequin, The Saturday Evening Post cover, March 5, 1932 Oi...
Joseph Christian Leyendecker (American, 1874-1951) Living Mannequin, The Saturday Evening Post cover, March 5, 1932 Oi... (Total: 2 Items)
Lot 68005
Auction 5351
Friday, May 4, 2018
$312,500
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, 1934 Oil ...
Lot 68124
Auction 5275
Saturday, November 12, 2016
$200,000
Joseph Christian Leyendecker (American, 1874-1951) Drum Major, The Saturday Evening Post cover, September 24, 1921 Oil...
Joseph Christian Leyendecker (American, 1874-1951) Drum Major, The Saturday Evening Post cover, September 24, 1921 Oil...
Lot 68179
Auction 5372
Thursday, November 8, 2018
$193,750
Joseph Christian Leyendecker (American, 1874-1951) Thanksgiving, The Saturday Evening Post cover, November 12, 1910 Oi...
Joseph Christian Leyendecker (American, 1874-1951) Thanksgiving, The Saturday Evening Post cover, November 12, 1910 Oi...
Lot 68182
Auction 5372
Thursday, November 8, 2018
$52,500.00

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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.



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