Posts Tagged ‘Saturday Evening Post’

Saturday-Evening-Post-J.C.-Leyendecker-Statue-of-Liberty-1934-Yesterday, on her wonderful blog, The Task at Hand, my friend Linda (aka Shoreacres) had the image above from a Saturday Evening Post cover in 1934.  It was from artist JC Leyendecker who did many, many covers for the popular magazine and was one of the finest artist/illustrators of the era.  This cover really stuck out for me because it didn’t really look much like his other more iconic covers that often depicted comical scenes.

This was more design-based, almost with a Pop Art feel.  Just a great image, plain and simple.  I thought I would share it and some of Leyendecker’s other 4th of July covers with you today and wish you all a very Happy 4th of July– a slice of Americana on this most American holiday.

Saturday-Evening-Post-J.C.-Leyendecker-1928 Saturday-Evening-Post-J.C.-Leyendecker-Town-Crier-1925- Leyendecker 4th of July SEP cover 1930 joseph-christian-leyendecker-fourth-of-july-1776-saturday-evening-post-cover-june-30-1923 saturday-evening-post-j-c-leyendecker-sleeping-uncle-sam-1924


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Norman Rockwell- People Reading Stock ExchangePut this one in the “Even the great ones screw up every once in a while” file. This is a painting from Norman Rockwell  titled  People Reading Stock Exchange for one of his many Saturday Evening Post covers.  There appears to be nothing unique about it at first glance,  just a group of folks hunched around a wall chart that they all  find completely absorbing.  They all seem perfectly normal until you take a closer look and notice that the young man in the red shirt seems different.  You look a bit closer, maybe squint a little  until you realize you don’t need to do that to see his abnormality. Yes, he has three legs. Norman Rockwell- People Reading Stock Exchange detailRockwell apparently didn’t notice this until it was pointed out years later and it proved to be a embarrassing episode for him, especially given his reputation for capturing detail in his work.

Some people have tried to explain it away as some sort of subconscious phallic representation which seems like a stretch to me.  I think it was merely an oversight although an unusual one.   As a casual viewer, it it something that is easy to overlook but I am more amazed that in the process that it simply didn’t register for him that he was creating a most unusual young man. As an artist, it’s reassuring to see someone so meticulous make such an error.

Most artists have at least a handful of such things in their background, pieces with shadows that make no sense in nature or arms that are much too long for any living human.  Most go unnoticed.  The unfortunate thing is that once they are identified, they become the focal point of that painting forever– something once seen cannot be unseen.

I know that I have several paintings with such mistakes, pieces that, without these flaws being pointed out, are strong and full works. Few people, if any, notice these flaws but for me they are the first things my eyes rest upon in the picture. They don’t bother me as I am sure this bothered Rockwell.  I see them as symbols of our humanity, our inherent flawed nature.

We don’t need to point out our flaws.  They’re there for all to see.  We can only hope people accept us, three legs or two or one.  And the three-legged young man here is a refreshing reminder of Rockwell’s humanity.

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As we end this year, 2011, I thought I’d take a minute and show a few of the Saturday Evening Post covers from the first half of the 20th century that celebrate the new year, all created by  the great illustrator J.C Leyendecker

Leyendecker is credited with popularizing the notion of the New Year being embodied as a baby and for over thirty years his versatile babies hailed in the new year for the popular magazine, often in a timely fashion.  One hundred years ago, he had a baby suffragette marching across the cover and in times of war he had sword wielding doughboys and Nazi-fighting GIs.  The one thing they all had in common was Leyendecker beautiful style.

The German-born Leyendecker came to America as a child in 1882 and became one of the most successful and influential illustrators of his time.  He is perhaps best known for his Arrow Collar Man, a long-running series of ads that shaped how the American man of that time came to be viewed.  He also did so many of their covers that his name was  associated almost synonymously with the Saturday Evening Post, in much the same way the work of Norman Rockwell became after him.

I wonder how Leyendecker might have portrayed this new year’s baby?

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