Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    Joseph Christian Leyendecker (American, 1874-1951)
    Yule (Musical Jester), The Saturday Evening Post cover, December 26, 1931
    Oil on canvas
    30 x 22-1/4 inches (76.2 x 56.5 cm)
    Signed with artist's monogram lower right: JCL


    J. Assenheim & Sons, New York;
    American Illustrators Gallery, New York;
    Acquired by the present owner from the above.

    Brandywine River Museum, Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, "Maxfield Parrish: Master of Make Believe," May 31-September 2, 1974;
    Norman Rockwell Museum of Art, Stockbridge, Massachusetts, "J.C. Leyendecker and The Saturday Evening Post," March 21-June 14, 2015;
    Museum of American Illustration at The Society of Illustrators, New York, "American Abroad: J.C. Leyendecker and the European Academic Influence on American Illustration," May 21-July 12, 2008;
    Norman Rockwell Museum of Art, Stockbridge, Massachusetts, "J.C. Leyendecker: A Retrospective," November 8, 1997-May 25, 1998;
    Sordoni Art Gallery, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, "Selections from the Sordoni Collection: American Illustration & Comic Art," April 7-May 20, 2018.

    A. Carter, J. Zankel, and T. Brown, American Abroad: J.C. Leyendecker and the European Academic Influence on American Illustration, exhibition catalogue, New York, 2008, n.p., no. 87, illustrated;
    S.I. Grand, Selections from the Sordoni Collection: American Illustration & Comic Art, exhibition catalogue, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, 2018, p. 145, no. 40, illustrated.

    One off the most prolific and sought-after artists of the Golden Age of Illustration, J.C. Leyendecker captivated the public with his magazine covers with striking design and bold style. Yule [Musical Jester] encapsulates the artist's high-fashion, glamorous fantasy that Leyendecker strove to achieve over the course of his vastly successful career.

    Born in Montabaur, Germany, Leyendecker came to Chicago with his Catholic family at age eight. He apprenticed to a printer, J. Manz and Co., and then studied with John Vanderpoel at the Chicago Art Institute. In 1896, he won the Century magazine cover competition, which essentially launched him professionally. Two years later, he went to Paris to the Académie Julian with his brother, Francis Xavier, and they learned the "hachure" method of drawing whereby blended shading was not allowed. During this time in Europe, Alfonse Mucha and his fellow Art Nouveau artist were in vogue playing with natural forms to create movement against bold lines of composition, creating a sense of architecture. This specific painting approach was quickly followed by the Art Deco movement, where artists simplified designs with a more geometric flair. When Leyendecker returned to America, his body of work flourished under the amalgamation of these two schools of style, resulting in the artist's distinctive approach to illustration that became uniquely his own.

    Painted in 1931, Yule [Musical Jester] exemplifies Leyendecker's unique blending of Art Nouveau and Art Deco influences, often evident in his Saturday Evening Post covers. The work captures the artist's talent as an artist and designer, with the high drama and romance of Art Nouveau composition blended seamlessly with the luxurious lines of the iconic Art Deco image of the Jester. The present work is an exceptional example of Leyendecker's high-fashion and opulent design rendered in a rich and sumptuous palate.

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

    Condition Report*: Wax-lined canvas; very minor surface dirt; under UV light, there appears to be scattered tiny touches of inpaint only affecting figure with two thin vertical approx. 2 inch lines of inpaint in lute beneath figure's hand, tiny touch in figure's cheek, and a small spot of inpaint in green triangle lower right.
    Framed Dimensions 35.5 X 27.5 Inches
    *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. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. 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. Heritage does not guarantee the condition of frames and shall not be liable for any damage/scratches to frames, glass/acrylic coverings, original boxes, display accessories, or art that has slipped in frames. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    July, 2020
    1st Wednesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 9
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 3,241

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    25% on the first $300,000 (minimum $49), plus 20% of any amount between $300,000 and $3,000,000, plus 12.5% of any amount over $3,000,000 per lot.

    Sold on Jul 1, 2020 for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)
    Track Item

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Consign to the 2021 December 2 Ethnographic Art American Indian, Pre-Columbian and Tribal Art Signature Auction.

    Learn about consigning with us

    Wow; aren’t we lucky to meet you. Thanks for the great info and superior client service.
    Paul & Gerri M.,
    New York, NY
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search