Before Norman Rockwell, there was J.C. Leyendecker (1874-1951) – arguably the nation's most popular and successful commercial artist of the first four decades of the 20th century.
Leyendecker's work both reflected and helped mold many of the visual aspects of the era's culture in America. including the mainstream image of Santa Claus as a jolly fat man in a red fur-trimmed coat , the New Year's Baby and the Arrow Collar Man, modeling him on his partner of 50 years, Charles Beach. The tradition of giving flowers as a gift on Mother's Day was started by Leyendecker's May 30, 1914 Saturday Evening Post cover depicting a young bellhop carrying hyacinths.
As the Saturday Evening Post’s most important cover artist of his day, J. C. Leyendecker illustrated all of the major holidays, as well as many in-between. His Easter, Independence Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas covers were annual events for the Post’s millions of readers.
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