Posted 4 years ago
Glass is not my only passion. I also have collected the work of the Lyendecker brothers assiduously. J.C and Frank Lyendecker were the undisputed giants of cover art and advertising during the first forty years of the 20th Century in America, particularly J.C, who created, among others: the Arrow Man, the Kuppenheimer dandy, the Chesterfield man, the new Year's Baby and the uniform for the Boy Scouts of America.
And both men, who lived together for most of their lives next to their sister, Augusta, were gay. J.C. shared his home and heart for 50 years with a lover who survived him., Charles Beach, who posed for the iconic "Lady Liberty" poster. I cannot but chuckle at the irony of it all.
Lyendecker's decline began just as Norman Rockwell began his ascent as America's iconic portraitist. The four items below clearly reflect the change in public taste, as America left the relative social freedoms of the 20's and began its own descent into the moral prudery of the 40's and 50's.
Pic. 01 The"Success" 1901 cover shows a male angel standing rigidly, announcing the Resurrection. The hieratic pose of the model (Lyendecker did not like using photographs) both obscures and highlights the erotic charge.
Pic. 02. This 1928 Saturday Evening Post Easter cover, shows another version of the same pose, in a delightful mixture of medieval and Deco motifs (such as the very stylized butterfly wings behind the figure).
Pic. 03. Ten years later, another Saturday Evening Post cover, this time from 1938. War is about to break; Millions will die. So Lyendecker plays it safe, going back to his iconic figure of the NY Baby--but as a female surrounded by butterflies, sporting a bonnet but with a missal tucked under her arm and an umbrella There is nudity and there is innocence--one cancels the other.
Pic. 04. And only two years later, in 1940, the transformation is complete. Now it is a young woman in a smart Spring outfit, putting away her winter coat and getting ready for the warm weather. She also sports butterfly wings.
This posting should appear under Advertising: Leyendecker/Magazine covers. As usual, i did not find it.