Original Advertising Art
    The House of Kuppenheimer
    Merry Christmas from Kuppenheimer's, c.1924
    Oil on canvas, mounted on board
    30.5in. x 25.5in. (sight size)
    Signed lower left: JC Leyendecker

    J.C. Leyendecker's portrayals of handsome, stylishly dressed men soon became the symbol of fashionable American manhood, just as Charles Dana Gibson's portrayals had become the symbol of elegant young women. As author Michael Schau points out in his superb monograph, J.C. Leyendecker, "The characters of F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby come to mind in many Leyendecker pictures of the twenties: well-to-do civilized people with self-confidence reinforced by breeding, education, position, and taste. They were sophisticated but not above gaiety." Indeed, Fitzgerald himself paid tribute to Leyendecker in his 1929 story, The Last of the Belles, with this passage, "She showed me his picture -- it was a handsome, earnest face with a Leyendecker forelock -- and told me that when she met someone who measures up to him she'd marry."

    Leyendecker's success with his Arrow Collar campaign soon had other clothiers seeking him out, and his ads were touted as among the most stylish ever produced. Illustrator Haddon Sundblom has often been credited with "branding" the image of Santa Claus with his Coca-Cola ads. The authors of The American Magazine write, "There was nothing elfin about Sundblom's painting, except perhaps the twinkle in his eye. He was a ruddy-faced fellow, with a hearty smile and a lap ample enough to accommodate a child or two. Not incidentally, his suit and cap were red and white, the colors of the soft drink's logo." Other Santa-philes however, credit Leyendecker with establishing the modern Santa Claus image with his Post covers. Key Leyendecker images of Santa appear on Post covers dated December 22, 1923; December 26, 1925; and December 20, 1930. Other famous illustrators including Thomas Nast and Norman Rockwell also helped standardize the image of Santa in the popular press. Their precedents influenced the Santa that Haddon Sundblom created for Coca-Cola in 1931. Leyendecker's vision of Santa in this Kuppenheimer piece is robust and atheletic; more strapping woodsman than jolly suburbanite soda-sipper! Thus this sensational painting presents a winning pair of icons, the modern successful American male and the modern Santa Claus.

    Keywords: oil, painting, advertisement, fashion, Gibson, portrait, Santa Claus, Christmas

    Condition Report*:

    Condition report available upon request.

    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

    Fees, Shipping, and Handling Description: Framed (view shipping information)

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    Auction Dates
    October, 2004
    29th Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 7
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 3,207

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