J. C. Leyendecker (1874-1951) was born in Montabaur, Germany,
and came to America at the age of eight. Showing an early
interest in painting, he got his first job at 16 in a Chicago
engraving house on the strength of some large pictures he
had painted on kitchen oilcloth. In the evenings after work
he studied under Vanderpoel at the Chicago Art Institute,
and saved for five years to be able to go to France to attend
the Academie Julian in Paris.
Upon his return, as a thoroughly trained artist with immense
technical facility, Leyendecker had no difficulty in obtaining
top commissions for advertising illustrations and cover
designs for the leading publications. His first The Saturday
Evening Post cover was done in 1899, and he did well
over 300 more during the next forty years. Among the most
famous of these was the annual New Year Baby series.
His advertising illustrations made his clients famous.
The Arrow Collar man was a byword
for the debonair, handsome male, and women wrote thousands
of love letters to him care of Cluett, Peabody & Company.
His illustrations for Hart, Schaffner & Marx were equally
successful in promoting an image of suited elegance. He
was elected to the Society of Illustrators Hall of Fame