After WWII, when photography took over as the primary mode of illustrating magazines, Leyendecker’s fortunes took a turn. Throughout the 20s and 30s, Leyendecker and Beach threw lavish parties at the New Rochelle house. But in the later years of his life, Leyendecker rarely had contact with anyone other than Beach and his sister. When he died in 1951, six people attended his funeral. Norman Rockwell was one of his pallbearers. Leyendecker left a small estate to Beach and his sister, who had to sell his vast catalogue of drawings in a yard sale on the front lawn of the New Rochelle house, for 75 cents a piece. It is only in recent decades that Leyendecker’s enormous influence on American culture has been unearthed and once again appreciated. And in the more accepting climate of the 21st century we are able to acknowledge him not only as an artist who visually defined “America” but one who did it while living how and with whom he pleased. As it turns out, Leyendecker drew the ideals of one generation and lived the ones of the future.
The Signature Spring Auction
Saturday, March 13th