Joseph Christian Leyendecker (American, 1874-1951)...
Auction Preview: Preview items may not have yet been properly described or vetted, and items are posted as soon as they have a description or a picture. We are continuing to add and correct information as we approach the auction posting date, so check back here often and Contact us with any comments or suggestions.
DescriptionJoseph 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.
Framed Dimensions 28.5 X 25 Inches
Signature®: Heritage Live®:After Internet bidding closes, live bidding will take place through www.HA.com/Live. Your secret maximum bid placed prior to the live event will compete against the live bids. To maximize your chances of winning, enter realistic secret maximum bids on our site. Many of our proxy bidders are successful at winning lots in these auctions, and usually below their secret maximum. You can also place last minute bids directly with us by e-mailing Bid@HA.com or calling 1-866-835-3243. (Important note: Due to software and Internet latency, live bids may not register in time, so enter realistic proxy bids.)
Signature® Floor Sessions
Proxy bidding ends ten minutes prior to the session start time. Live Proxy bidding on Heritage Live starts 7 days before the live session begins and continues through the session. During the live auction event, bidding in person is encouraged, and Heritage Live includes streaming audio and often video during the event.