Looks like by about 1905 The Leyendecker’s had moved out to New Rochelle and Frank and Joe were commuting to the studio in NY City for the most part. Also, of course, Joe would spend most of his time there with his new found companion, Charles Beach. Makes sense, really..most of us love that moment when a relationship begins..all magic and moonlight..and in this case, the two would share wonderful times creating an image of what would soon become an icon in American fashion for the Peabody Cluett Company..the ARROW COLLAR MAN….!!
Which brings our legacy to the beginning of a lifelong relationship between J.C. Leyendecker , his family, and a man named Charles A. Beach. It is said that Joe was out of town somewhere between 1901 and 1903 when brother Frank answered a knock on the door from an amazingly handsome European 17 year old boy looking for modeling work. (Joe was around 12 years older at the first meeting) It is interesting to note that Frank was the first to meet Charles but eventually allowed the relationship to turn towards Joe who loved using Charles as his main model. Charles ended up renting a small apartment near the brothers studio on 31st St. in New York.. (I DID mention they had moved to NY from Chicago around 1900 didn’t I ??) The brothers had been sharing a studio near Washington Square with their sister, Mary, who acted as their hostess and lady of the home.. Charles’ location seemed to work just fine because it was so close to the studio and certainly allowed loads of time for getting acquainted and helping to organize Joe’s increasingly busy schedule and workload. Keep in mind that unlike other artists, Joe was not one to promote himself. It is said he was very quiet and would seldom brag about the works he had in progress or speak much about triumphs in his past. I imagine that ,as with any of us who have an artistic quality, someone like Charles Beach is great to have around to spread the good word..someone to promote our work and to help us see how valuable our talents are to the world..and to ourselves.. Also to make sure our affairs are managed and that details that become hard to keep up with are handled for us..
So great..and SO Leyendecker..
It was May 20th 1899 , when the Leyendecker Boys were in Chicago at the Fine Arts building , that J.C. received his first commission for the Sat.Evening Post..This would begin a 44 year association with the magazine (322 Covers to be exact) and give America our visual traditions of the New Years Baby , A Pudgy Classic Santa Claus, Flowers combined with Mothers Day ,Forth of July images and even classic Thanksgiving images the country would soon hold close to their hearts and associate with each holiday..The post was thrilled to use J.C. not only for regular issues but almost always for holiday issues to insure a sell out each time! It is so cool to know where the images and ideas of these classic icons came from..! I will post some pics soon for you to see..Just felt I was getting ahead of myself and wanted you to know sequence of events..!!
I feel like I am letting you down if I don’t explain that in around 1889, the family was no longer able to pay for furthering any education, so Joe enrolled as an apprentice at the J.Manz company..a Chicago engraving house .At 15 years old, that was pretty extreme..he even took courses in the evening at the Chicago Art Institute. He quickly moved from errand boy at his company to staff illustrator with an amazing amount of ease..Go figure..! 4 years later, at the age of 19, Joe was illustrating pages for his company’s version of a bible..Kinda says still so much about his wonderful talents, right? I mean..to do 60 illustrations for a bible seems quite the task for a kid under 20..at least in todays standards.. When Joe was 22, in 1896, he won the competition against Maxfield Parrish to do the cover work for the August Century Magazine ..Can you imagine how excited he must have been?? Again showing the world he was so much a part of the masses..
I have often wished I had this original..how cool to have a piece of his humble beginnings! He was then asked to do 12 other covers for the magazine but those would be done from their schooling in Paris.. (he and Frank both went to the Academie in fall of 1896. The brothers returned in 1898 and opened a studio in Chicago. Both brothers were working quite hard and by 1900 had changed their surroundings to the exciting life of New York City !(known at that time as the hub of the magazine industry)
..I continue my search and with each search I am finding more and more about our J.C. Leyendecker and his brother, Frank X Leyendecker..most of all that they were setting the world on fire with their beautiful work and sought after for many magazine covers and advertising deals. I find it interesting that those in the stuffy art world say that Illustration Art is not really ART..I assume they believe because it doesn’t command a HUGE TICKET PRICE when produced, it doesn’t seem worth anything. J.C.Leyendecker loved the fact that the masses got to see his beautiful images and that it was not just showcased for a few select upper crust to enjoy..How cool is that attitude? Lets consider him the Painter of the People! I like that! Anyway…they spent time in Paris at a school called Acadamie Julian ..from what I have read so far, it is quite the place for up and coming artists to attend ..I will post a pic of the 2 brothers there..very cool…Needless to say, they found their niche and came back to America to make it happen! This was around 1900..The next few years for the boys was incredible success and wonderful things were about to happen for them!
Ok..here’s what we know..The Leyendecker( PRONOUNCED LION DECKER) family lived in Germany in the late 1800s and in 1874(March 23rd ), “Joe” as his friends always called him, was born.. They brought he and the rest of the family (including the talented Frank) to America in 1882..Within the next 7 years, Joe got about all the education he would receive. So much more talent..so much more to lead to the excitement .. I love this websites description of his life.. (You will need to copy and paste these links..I am new at this..)
You can also then see loads of his covers for the Sat. Eve. Post here :
(they are very fussy about anyone showing ANY of his work that was associated with the magazine, even though he only allowed use for the covers and then demanded the originals back because he was aware of the residuals from being on the cover of a magazine. )
We will concentrate on all the OTHER amazing images he has done that are not associated with the Post..There are loads and I prefer to keep clear from their reach..Believe me..just knowing he did so much for them is enough for you to know, truly..Most of all, so many have seen his work and assumed that it was Norman Rockwell when it was, in fact, J.C. Leyendecker! (about 300 plus or so! )
One beautiful museum in Newport RI, has beautiful originals of both Rockwell and Leyendecker and shows how many of Rockwell’s images seems to copy early J.C…Judy and her husband are very nice folks and truly care about the preservation of American Illustration Art.. I was there a few weeks ago and will give you a rundown in another sitting.. Just want you to have some insight before we go deep into our adventure..!
I was lucky to find this original FX Leyendecker ..It is beautiful..we have made greeting cards from the image as well..Image size is 12 inches across by 20 inches long. The original came from Marisa Del Re Gallery in New York..We are told it was owned by a doctor in Montabaur Germany..(The Leyendecker family original homestead)