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June 2024
1min read

The great illustrator J. C. Leyend jcker (1874-1951) created Christmas covers for The Saturday Evening Post whose rubicund Santas were the absolute embodiment of Christmas for generations of children—and, indeed, for their parents too. This one ran in 1923. If Leyendecker was good at showing what Santa Claus should look like, he was equally compelling showing a generation of young men what they should look like. He created the “Arrow Collar Man,” who, though summoned wholly from the artist’s imagination, was real enough to the public to inspire a response perhaps unprecedented for any painter a flood of fan letters and gifts, marriage proposals, and notes threatening suicide—seventeen thousand of them in one month alone early in the 1920s. Among those fans was a fluent young illustrator named Norman Rockwell, who later became a close friend of the older artist, tt is fitting, then, that the first retrospective of LeyendeckeKs works should be mounted at the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, where it will be on view through May 25, 1998.

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