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Icon: J.C. Leyendecker (1874-1951)

Long before Bruce Webers campaigns for Abercrombie & Fitch became the predominant image of masculine beauty and sexuality, and before Norman Rockwell established himself as the official illustrator of the American experience, there was J.C. Leyendecker. During his 40-year association with The Saturday Evening Post he produced over 320 covers, and Rockwell considered him his most important mentor. Leyendeckers most influential and lucrative work, however, was his creation of the Arrow Collar Man, one of the most iconic advertising images of the 20th century. Using his strapping partner, Charles Beach, as the model, the advertisements for the mens shirt manufacturer created a complete frenzy when they first appeared in 1905. For the first time in advertising history, the product being promoted became secondary to its model and the lifestyle he projected. Leyendecker and Beach had been together for 50 years when Leyendecker died in 1951. Send a letter to the editor about this article.
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