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J.C. Leyendecker [Hardcover]

Laurence S. Cutler , Judy Goffman Cutler
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
RRP: 25.00
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Book Description

3 Nov 2008
One of the most prolific and successful artists of the Golden Age Illustration, J.C. Leyendecker captivated audiences throughout the first half of the twentieth century. With a signature style that possessed great warmth and imagination, Leyendecker is perhaps best known for his creation of the archetype of the fashionable male with his advertisements for Arrow Collar in the 1910s through the 1920s. These images sold to an eager public the idea of a glamorous lifestyle, the bedrock upon which modern advertising was built. He also was the creator instantly recognizable icons, such as Santa Claus (conceived as a portly, white-haired man clad in red velvet), that are to this day an integral part of the lexicon of society.An important influence on Norman Rockwell, Leyendecker was commissioned to paint more "Saturday Evening Post" covers than any other artist. Leyendecker lived for much of his adult life with Charles Beach, on whom the stylish men in his artwork was modelled, and while he kept his homosexuality hidden from public scrutiny, he nevertheless gathered a strong following in the gay-interest community. In the first book about the artist in more than twenty years, J.C. Leyendecker features his masterworks, rare paintings and other artwork, including the 322 covers he did for the "Post", as well as other magazines, including Harper's and Collier's. Accompained by a revealing text that delves into both his artistic evolution and personal life, J.C. Leyendecker restores his rightful position in the pantheon of great American illustrators.

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J.C. Leyendecker + The Best of Norman Rockwell: A Celebration of America's Favourite Illustrator
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Abrams (3 Nov 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0810995212
  • ISBN-13: 978-0810995215
  • Product Dimensions: 28.5 x 24.8 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 107,846 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Laurence S. Cutler is the chairman and co-founder of The National Museum of American Illustration in Newport, Rhode Island. Judy Goffman Cutler owns The American Illustrators Gallery in New York. She is the co-founder of The National Museum of American Illustration in Newport, Rhode Island.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great art with biased text 13 Jun 2009
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Length: 0:23 Mins
I found out that this book is rather controversial after reading all the comments left by other readers on Amazon, most are disgusted by the historical inaccuracies and personal agenda of the authors. Even I have to agree to a certain extent. At the end of the book, you'll get the impression that Norman Rockwell, Leyendecker's competition, is nothing but vile. One reader even pointed out a knock-off painting that was mistaken as an original Leyendecker work. These are only two examples.

In short, you should get this book for the art and not the text.

Leyendecker's paintings is easily identifiable by the exaggerated, quick brushstroke effect, or crosshatched strokes with oil paint. The reason why I bought the book was to check out how he draws the folds on those clothes. His command of drawing clothes and drapery is masterly. His more iconic pieces would be the Arrow Collar Man, New Year babies, and the covers for Saturday Evening Post.

Plenty of cover art he did for magazines are also included, although it's small at 9 per page. I thought the scans and reproduction of the paintings are pretty good. Yes, there might be yellow stains on those old copies of Saturday Evening Post but note that these paintings are from before the 1950s. The large illustrations are reproduced well, showing the texture of the medium. I like that his portraits are full of form and solidity, which I understand are drawn with models as reference.

The included biography is controversial but I didn't really buy this book for the text.

All said, it's still a very decent archive of Leyendecker's work.

The art is good enough to warrant a 5-star rating, regardless of what is written.

There are more pictures of the book on my blog. Just visit my Amazon profile for the link.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Leyendecker, simply the best. 21 Mar 2009
By ventura
This is a beatifully presented book in every way. Quality, style, content.
It is also the book that Leyendecker fans have been waiting many years for. The wait as been worth while. Packed with glorious colour plates on almost every page. almost certainly the most Comprehensive catalogue of Leyendecker work available in general print today. I will not go through the full contents of the book as the Amazon Product Description, covers everything perfectly.
I wiil just say that J.C.Leyendecker was a true original at the cutting edge of a new age of art and advertising. Many followed him and his style (including Norman Rockwell)but he was the original.
How do you set a new style ? Joe did. True genius.
Buy the book,you won't be Disappointed
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By Dr. R. Brandon TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a hansom coffee table book with many excellent reproductions. J. C. Leyendecker was one of the earliest pioneers of magazine illustration and poster work in the United States and for quite a while tutored the now perhaps more famous Norman Rockwell. Not a great deal has been recorded about the life of Leyendecker so the biographical section, whilst adequate, is not very long. The artist was in regular employment and carried on a very industrious life, the only unusual, if that is the correct phrase, fact about his life being his life-long partnership with his key model Charles Beach. During the early and very productive section of Leyendecker's career from 1898 to 1936 the existence of such a relationship had to be kept very discrete, hence an absence of revealing letters or personal documents. The artist did experience family problems which were not helped by his relationship with Beach. The authors Cutler and Cutler, both directors and founders of the National Museum of American Illustration in Newport, Rhode Island, have done a nice job on this book and have reproduced all 322 `Saturday Evening Post' covers that Leyendecker painted, together with a host of other work for Collier's Weekly and many examples of advertisements for Arrow Collars and Kuppenheimer fashion plates which often featured Charles Beach. I have a few quibbles with the style of English the authors adopt and the frequent use of the ugly word `imagist' rather than illustrator or commercial artist but otherwise this is a very nicely produced work which is fitting for this somewhat neglected but important and very influential artist.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Undoubtedly a lovely book but... 12 April 2012
By Tand
For pictures and quality prints this is one of the best (if not one of the only) Leyendecker collections widely available. It's a very lovely tome with a beautiful cover beneath it's dust cover and wonderful prints on glossy pages. The only thing which stopped me from giving this the full 5 stars is, as mentioned by every other reviewer too, the text.

I bought the book knowing the text was biased, ignorant, worthless - take your pick - so I had no intention of reading it too thoroughly, though even a cursory glance shows just how unimpressive the opinions of the authors are, and I don't intend to read much further into the book. The forgeries noted by others are also glaringly obvious which is a real shame, nonetheless, for a collection of Leyendecker's work and for this price, I don't regret my purchase.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Social history revealled 1 Dec 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I had never heard of this artist but brought it on strength of the recommendations and am very glad I did. Fascinating how a gay couple (the artist and the model) had such an influence of contemporary American culture, that fact will have a few choking on their pumpkin pie! Great illustrations throughout, masses of them, and intersting text that doesn't seek to deny the real lives of those concerend (for good and bad). Essential for anyone interested in American culture and / or gay history.
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