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    Joseph Christian Leyendecker (American, 1874-1951)
    Croix de Guerre, The Saturday Evening Post cover, June 29, 1918
    Oil on canvas
    22 x 18 inches (55.9 x 45.7 cm)
    Signed lower right: JCLeyendecker

    Franklin and Marshall College, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, "A Collector's Choice: Selections from a Private Collection of Mixed Media," October 3-24, 1985;
    Millport Museum, Lititz, Pennsylvania, "Inaugural Exhibit: American Art and Illustrations," May 13-15, 1988;
    M.S. Rau, New Orleans, Louisiana, "America Illustrated: Six Decades of Saturday Evening Post Covers," November 6, 2015-January 5, 2016.

    L.S. Cutler and J.G. Cutler, J.C. Leyendecker, American Imagist, New York, 2008, p. 128, illustrated.

    The Croix de Guerre (Cross of War) is a French military distinction that was created in 1915 as an award to denote either a singular soldier or an entire military unit's heroism, as a foreign military force allied to France. In the United States military, the Croix de Guerre is accepted as a foreign decoration, remaining one of the more difficult foreign awards to verify entitlement.

    While Croix de Guerre is brilliantly executed in J.C. Leyendecker's trademark style, it is also of particular historical interest. The work depicts an older, French officer awarding an American "Doughboy" soldier with the Croix de Guerre. Published in June of 1918, this illustration dates to one year following America's initial involvement in the First World War, and precedes the war's conclusion in November of 1918 by five months.

    Following years of refusing to enter the war, the United States' decision to take the side of the Allied Nations is hailed as the war's turning point. This painting serves to represent the pride of the nation, as the bestowal of the Croix de Guerre is symbolic of Europe's recognition that the United States had become a key player on the global stage.

    The present work also displays the differing stylistic approach Leyendecker would take, depending on the subject matter as dictated by The Saturday Evening Post. While the illustrator is famed for his stylistic depictions of male subjects, in this painting a more naturalistic approach is taken. There is great care given to an authentic representation of each man's uniform and appearance to denote rank, age, and nationality. These elements, and Leyendecker's technical prowess, unite to tell a narrative specific to the United States' place in the First World War and to the politics of Europe at the time of the painting's execution.

    More information about Joseph Christian Leyendecker, also known as Leyendecker, Joseph Christian, Joseph Christian Leyendecker.

    Estimate: $200,000 - $300,000.

    Condition Report*: Condition report alliable upon request.
    Framed Dimensions 28.5 X 25 Inches
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