News and Events

Painting America's Portrait Book Tour Event Schedule December 14 2016

Please be advised that the times and dates are subject to change. Thank you.





Wilmington Rotary

19 January 2017: Thursday – 12:00 Noon

Sue Knisely – Events Coordinator

The Du Pont Hotel


42 W 11th St.

Wilmington, DE 19801


Stonegates Retirement Community

19 January 2017: Thursday – 4:00PM

Sue Knisely – Events Coordinator

3031 Kennett Pike

Wilmington, DE 19807


The Arts Club of Washington
25-26 February 2017: TBA

2017 I Street. NW
Washington DC 20006

Yann Henrotte General Manager
(202) 331-7282 ext. 120


The Studio Group (in Howard Pyle's Studio)

9 March 2017: Thursday - 10AM

Betsy Greer – Events Manager



1304 N. Franklin Street

Wilmington, Delaware


The Plastic Club of Philadelphia

12 March 2017: Sunday - 5:00PM

247 Camac St, Philadelphia, PA

Susan Stromquist - Exhibition Chair




The Biggs Museum

Date: TBA

Ryan Grover – Curator

406 Federal Street

Dover, DE 19901

Phone: (302) 674-2111


The Norman Rockwell Museum

6 April 2017: Thursday – Time TBA

Stephanie Plunkett – Events Coordinator

413-298-4100 – 1

Mike Duffy – Bookstore Manager

413-298-4100 - ext 237

9 MA-183

Stockbridge, MA 01262



Albany Institute of History & Art

8 April 2017: Saturday – Time TBA

125 Washington Avenue

Albany, NY 12210

Tel: 518.463.4478

Patrick Stenshorn, education coordinator: 

Elizabeth Bechand: Museum Shop Manager -

Doug McCombs: Curator –



Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts

27 April 2017: Thursday – 12:00 Noon

128 N. Broad Street

Philadelphia, PA 19102
Dressler Smith – Coordinator of Adult Programs




Delaware State Archives
29 April 2017: Saturday – Time TBA

21 The Green 
Dover, Delaware 19901 
Ann Baker Horsey 

Curator of Collections 

Thomas Summers - Historical & Cultural Affairs 




The Rose Valley Historical Society
30 April 2017: Sunday – 2:00PM

Thunderbird Lodge

PO Box 62
Moylan, PA 19065 USA

Ryan Berley – Curator

Sue Keilbaugh

Morris Potter,

Cell: 610-675-8347


The Plastic Club of Philadelphia

11 June 2017: Sunday - 5:00PM

247 Camac St

Susan Stromquist - Exhibition Chair


Iona College & New Rochelle Historical Association
20 Sicard Avenue, New Rochelle, NY 10804
John Wright, Director

(914) 633-1776

Join Jim Thompson at The Society of Illustrators in NYC on Oct. 20th! September 12 2016

You’re cordially invited to meet me, Jim Thompson, author of ‘Painting America’s Portrait: How Illustrator Created their Art' on October 20, 2016 from 6:30-8:30pm at the The Society of Illustrators in New York City!

Many artists appearing in my new book were members of the Society of Illustrators, during the evening I’ll be commenting on a few of their works.

Copies of Painting America’s Portrait will also be available for purchase.

Hope to see you there! More details are below. To RSVP please email

Image of the Week 6/17/16 - The Courtship June 18 2016

3-39 The Courtship

Cover Image for Success Magazine – December 1905

Leyendecker, J. C. (1874–1951)


Courtesy of The Illustrated Gallery, Fort Washington, Pennsylvania


Joseph Christian (Joe) Leyendecker created this stylist picture in 1905. (Page 705 of Volume VIII. See:] Entitled The Courtship, it appeared on the cover of the December issue of Success Magazine. Since it is not associated with an article in the magazine, I suppose Leyendecker created it to be a cover. It provides an excellent example of what Jordan Berman of The Illustrated Gallery meant when he observed that “artists produced their best work for magazine covers.”

Success Magazine’s Editor said this of its art and of Leyendecker:

Ten years ago it was not considered necessary to illustrate a magazine beyond a few pictures that might illumine the text. To-day it is an equal factor with clever literature in the "make up" of any publication worthy of a standard rank. Good artists are more difficult to secure and demand more remuneration than ever before. Mechanical devices for the reproduction of high-grade work in half-tone and color have almost reached the acme of the inventor's art. We are taking advantage of all these conditions and have im proved our art department to meet the demand of the time. Our cover designs, which have been so noted in the past, will be even more striking in the future. Success Magazine probably pays the highest price of any magazine in America for its cover designs. J. C. Leyendecker, the best cover designer in America, is one of our staff of artists. A fine sample of his exquisite workman ship is shown in our Christmas issue. [This comment, along with an image of the artist can be found on the front pages of the magazine’s December 1905 issue.]

Joe Leyendecker had begun his career over a decade before he painted The Courtship. In 1894, at the age of twenty-four, he illustrated his first book, which was an American edition of Anthony Hope’s The Dolly Dialogues. The book was published by Chicago-based E.A. Weeks & Company. He had created the first of 321 covers he produced for The Saturday Evening Post in May of 1899. He continued to provide covers for the the Post until 1943.

Joe rose to become “the best cover designer in America” by polishing his natural gifts as a draftsman and by studying in Paris with some of France’s most celebrated classically trained teachers. While working for an engraving firm in Chicago, he took lessons in figure drawing under John H. Vanderpoel at the Chicago Institute of Art. In the fall of 1896, he and his brother, Francis Xavier (Frank), traveled to Paris where they spent two years studying with Jules Joseph Lefebvre and William-Adolphe Bouguereau at the Académie Julian. They supplemented this instruction by attending classes at the Académie Colarossi on Paris’s avant garde Left Bank.

Joe may have earned his reputation creating cover art for publications like The Saturday Evening Post and Success Magazine, but he probably financed his lavish life style with the commissions he earned from clothing manufactures like Cleutt Peabody & Company, the House of Keppenheimer, Hart Schaffner & Marx, and Interwoven Socks.

The male characters Joe Leyendecker presented in his ads were poised, commanding, and charming, which made them paradigms of the era’s “smart set.” They soon became social icons the way Charles Dana Gibson’s “girls” had done a decade before. It seems everyone born during the Gilded Age wanted to become a millionaire. Joe showed them how to dress one.

            I add additional details about J. C. Leyendecker’s life, career, and art in my forthcoming book Painting America’s Portrait - How Illustrators Created Their Art, which will be published this fall by Commonwealth Books of Virginia. You can learn more about at


Jim Thompson

Illustration Art Enthusiast