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THE LEYENDECKERS AND WORLD WAR I (I)

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Leyendecker Illustrations6 of 9More Kuppenheimer Ads by J.C. Leyendecker LEYENDECKER AND THE HOUSE OF KUPPENHEIMER
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Posted 2 years ago

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Alfredo
(533 items)

World War I proved an illustration bonanza for the Leyendecker brothers.

JC in particular threw himself into the fray and created some of the most culturally iconic images such as the poster for U.S. Bonds, which also appeared as a cover for the Saturday Evening Post (a relentlessly conservative publication, which repeatedly opposed the New Deal and was all for the American ideal of vampiric capitalism).

Pic. 1, 2: But there was always the homoerotic subtext, a palimpsestic deconstruction of the message by means of "corrosive irony". Both (THE FLAT CHESTED) Lady Liberty and the boy scout were depictions of Charles Beach, his lover of fifty years. The magazine cover is dated 1918. So much for homophobic, homosocial institutions! I own the poster, the cover and even the trade card.

Pic. 3. The second most iconic World War I. Let me draw attention once more to the semiotic load (pun intended) of the vigil depicted. Both Leyendeckers were obsessed with a particular branch of the Armed Forces . . . and their anatomy. This, by the way, was a favorite Leyendecker pose.

Pic. 4. At this time, fuel needed to be spared for the war effort.
Leyendecker portrays a brawny coal worker atop a cart pulled by brawny stallions. I suspect the model is the same his brother Frank used in one of his own iconic covers for Colliers (the red shirt). By the way, i do not mind owning a modern reproduction of a poster that is unavailable or unaffordable, as long as it documents a point.

Comments

  1. Chrisnp Chrisnp, 2 years ago
    Interesting. I've seen pic 1 hundreds of times, and pic 3 is also quite familiar to me, but I never noticed the similarities between the scout and Lady Liberty, and I never noticed the homoerotic aspects of the Marine pose.

    Thanks for these insights!
  2. cogito cogito, 2 years ago
    Yep. I'll never look at a Leyendecker the same way again.

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