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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, .

    Condition Report*: Condition report alliable upon request.
    Framed Dimensions 28.5 X 25 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
    November, 2021
    5th Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
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