Thursday, September 22, 2011

Unforgettable J.C. Leyendecker

"It scared me. Joe had been the most famous illustrator in America. Then the Post had dropped him; advertising agencies had dropped him, the public had forgotten him. He died in obscurity. "

- Norman Rockwell, from My Adventures as an Illustrator

Just read a haunting chapter from Norman Rockwell's biography, My Adventures as an Illustrator. Rockwell had nothing but the deepest admiration for J.C. Leyendecker or Joe as he refers to him in his book.

Leyendecker met an unnecessarily tragic end, but he contrary to Rockwell's feelings, he has not been completely forgotten. He's no longer a household name, but his work still influences artists and illustrators today.

Anyway after Rockwell's chapter on Leyendecker I had to revisit some of my old reference books on him. I agree with Rockwell, that perhaps because of circumstances that would ultimately lead to his undoing, his work did "fall off" towards the end of his career. But the work that he made prior to his downfall is simply amazing and inspiring.