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Joseph Leyendecker

Joseph Leyendecker is perhaps one of the greatest illustrators of all time.  When thinking of his work the most popular that comes to mind is the work he did for the covers of the Saturday Evening Post.  Through his work Leyendecker had a great impact on several future illustrators.  In fact, it was the wonderful work of Leyendecker that inspired a great number of Norman Rockwell’s paintings. 

Leyendecker was born in Germany in 1874 and came to America at the age of 8.   Ever since the beginning Leyendecker was an artist.  At the age of 16 he got his first job in Chicago.  During the day Leyendecker would work in an engraving house, while at night he studied under Vanderpoel at the Chicago Art Institute.  After working for five years and saving all the money he could, Leyendecker went to France to attend the Academie Julian in Paris. 

Joseph Leyendecker

When Leyendecker returned to the states he returned with his raw talent refined into thoroughly trained skill.  On Leyendecker’s return he had no difficulty in finding work.  He worked on advertising illustrations and as previously mentioned cover designs for leading publications.  Over his lifetime Leyendecker did over 300 covers for the Saturday Evening Post.  Mr. Leyendecker’s amazing talent made his clients famous.  He portrayed in his illustration a type of elegance than many people craved.  One example of this is his illustrations for Hart, Schaffner & Marx, which successfully portrayed the image they wanted of suited elegance.  In 1977 Leyendecker was inducted into the Illustrators Hall of Fame.

Now that we have a brief history of how Leyendecker got to where he was, let us look in more detail of what he accomplished.  Throughout his lifetime Leyendecker had a great influence on modern illustration.  Through his work he created a style that was embraced by the nation.  Through his work Leyendecker had a great influence on a wide spectrum of people, including artists, designers, and craftsmen.  Through his unique style Leyendecker added a whole new dimension to advertising and product identification, that is still noticed around advertising today.

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