A Short Note on the ART of LOVE…
The brilliant American artist, J. C. Leyendecker (1874-1951), celebrated for his memorable poster and advertising illustrations, spent his career depicting idealized images of the sexes that were redolent of the spirit of the 1920s. That imagery, for his generation, served as archetypes of heterosexual masculinity and femininity. But while a nation adored his work – and sought to emulate the style and glamour of the Leyendecker men and women – the creator lived a closeted life common to so many gay men and women of that era.
Today, his work has undergone a process of homoerotic decoding and, on this Valentine's Day, I'm sharing three of his classic paintings: 'The Butterfly Couple' (1923) and its romantic usage as a magazine advertisement for Kuppheimer Good Clothes, and two covers for The Saturday Evening Post (March 1913 and 1934)...
Alongside these ladies and gents, I give you a re-imagined amalgamation of Leyendecker's craft (together with appropriate Evening Post lettering) made in 2010 by James Blah as a Valentine’s Day card for his boyfriend.
As the Bard neatly observed:
"Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind,
And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind."
– A Midsummer Night's Dream, Act 1, scene 1
Let's remember J. C. Leyendecker for his astonishing art while celebrating the fact that we live in a time when, for the benefit of all humanity, Cupid is increasingly – and thankfully – being "painted blind".