J C LEYENDECKER: DEFINING THE MALE IN AMERICA’S GOLDEN AGE OF ILLUSTRATION

Written by  on March 29, 2013 

EASTER

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Joseph Christian Leyendecker (1874-1951) was  one of the most successful, prolific and inspirational  illustrators (especially of the male image ) in magazines and advertising in the early twentieth century;  his work in that era not only came to epitomise and define the image of the urban American male, but also became  a major iconic force for “Americana”  in  general. Leyendecker was gay and met his life-long partner-to-be (and muse ) Charles Beach – in 1903 when Beach first posed for him.Charles  Beach was not only extraordinarily handsome, with  a defined physique, but  more importantly (from a professional point-of-view) he was able to hold  a pose whilst being painted for an exceedingly long period (a major attribute for any artist’s model).Leyendecker is best remembered today for creating the “Arrow Collar Man” for the firm of Cluett, Peabody & Co (Arrow Shirts) in 1905, for which he used Beach as his inspiration.The “Arrow Man” caused  a sensation amongst the public of the day and continues to endure as Leyendecker’s most iconic creation.Leyendecker was an extremely gifted and prolific artist, who created  more than 400 magazine covers during his lifetime, including 322 for “The Saturday Evening Post”.Apart from maintaining an impressive career as an illustrator,  it is also really quite remarkable that he  was able to form and sustain a loving, intimate relationship with  Charles Beach for over 50 years, during a time in which Homosexuals were subjected to social-stigma, rejection and sexual repression on a daily basis .Watch for a more in-depth report on Joseph Leyendecker in  the near future.

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 J C LEYENDECKER: DEFINING THE MALE IN AMERICA’S GOLDEN AGE OF ILLUSTRATION  : Text ©copyright 2013  Gary Alston.
House Of Retro/Gary Alston make no claims to the ownership of images appearing on this page.

Category : RETRO-SPECTIVE!