J. C. Leyendecker cover illustration for "Success Magazine" (1905): beautifully framed antique


"The Courtship"
   Cover for Success Magazine 
   By  J. C. Leyendecker
   December 1905 Issue

    Image Size: H 16.25” x W 10.50”
    Matted & Framed:  H 22.25” x W 16.50”
    Framed Price: $275.00  
    Packaging and shipping approximately $25.00

Giclee reproduction of the artist's original work
is available. For information contact 
AntiqueIllustrationArt.com at 703-307-7715

JCL received his first magazine “cover” commission shortly after opening his New York studio, which it seems he did in early-1899. The picture was for the Curtis Publishing Company of Philadelphia. The order was probably placed by its innovative new Managing Editor, George Lorimer.

            The image the artist produced was not what we recognize today as cover. It was an illustration for a story written by John Luther Long called “The Dream Woman.” The opening paragraphs of Long’s story together with JCL’s illustration were printed on the front page of the magazine.               

            Shorty after printing JCL’s “cover” illustration, Lorimer directed Guernsey Moore to redesign the magazine’s cover. Moore responded by replacing its dim, stodgy illustrated texts with theme-bases images. Over the next five years, The Post began its tradition of publishing holiday scenes for Easter, the 4th of July, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s. Moore produced many of these images himself, but JCL produced a few of them. We recognize them today because they were printed in three-color halftones.           

In 1905, Cluett, Peabody & Company of Troy, New York commissioned JCL to create illustrate an ad campaign for its dress shirt and collars. The advertisements he produced defined the American male for a generation of cloths-conscious men. They featured JCL’s handsome male model Charles Beach, dressed to kill, in places where the best people gathered.

JCL diverted time from his Cluett project to create this stylish cover for Success Magazine. [See the original cover at  https://books.google.com/books/reader?id=V3ZNAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover&output=reader&source=gbs_atb_hover&pg=GBS.PA797.]

            Although the picture is called “The Courtship,” it is not associated with an article in the magazine. This shows that Leyendecker created it as a cover illustration. After painting three-color halftone cover images for The Post, he must have been thrilled to display his genius in this full four-color scene.This piece is 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 J. C. 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 improved 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 in the first pages of the magazine’s December 1905 issue.]

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