Can we take a second to appreciate the sheer beauty of male elegance in J. C. Leyendecker’s work?
Joseph Christian Leyendecker ( March 23, 1874 in Montabaur, Germany – July 25, 1951 in New Rochelle, New York, USA) was one of the preeminent American illustrators of the early 20th century. During the Golden Age of American Illustration between 1896 and 1950, Leyendecker painted more than 400 magazine covers as well as many advertisement illustrations. Leyendecker “virtually invented the whole idea of modern magazine design.”
The apparent homoerotic aesthetic of his work is often attributed to a homosexual identity. Leyendecker excelled at depicting male homosocial spaces (locker rooms, clubhouses, tailoring shops) and extraordinarily handsome young men in curious poses or exchanging glances. Leyendecker never married, and he lived with another man, Charles Beach, for much of his adult life, who is assumed to have been his lover and who was the original model of the famous Arrow Collar Man.