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Hidden Treasures from the Norman Rockwell Museum

Norman Rockwell Museum

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Find of the Week!

       Every once in a while you come across one of those rare items which really makes your day.  For me, yesterday was one of those days. 

       In my efforts to get the final few boxes of  random “stuff” processed, I came across several letters in a folder marked “Miscellaneous Correspondence.”  Wanting to have a label more specific than that, I began to read one of the handwritten letters in hopes of finding out who “Joe,” the signer of the letter, actually was.  By the end of the second page it was clear; “Joe” was none other than J.C. Leyendecker.

      For those not familiar with J.C. Leyendecker, he was truly one of the pre-eminent illustrators of the early 20th century.  He is probably best known for his advertisements for the Arrow Collar Man, as well as his 322 covers for the Saturday Evening Post.  He was greatly admired by Norman Rockwell, and was a significant influence on him, especially during his early artistic career.

      Rockwell once said that while living in New Rochelle, New York, he used to wait for Leyendecker’s train to arrive so that he could follow him up the long stairway, out onto the street, and down to his car, hoping that if he could copy Leyendecker’s curious gait, that some of his greatness would rub off on him.  Little could Rockwell have imagined that one day, not only would he become friends with Leyendecker, but that he would be compared to him, and held up as his artistic equal.

April 22, 1945

Dear Norman,

Many thanks for forwarding that letter.  It was good to hear from you again, and wish I could have been with you when visiting Josephine and Harry.

New Rochelle is not the same since all our old friends have gone and I hope the ban on travel may soon be lifted and we may look forward in seeing you and Mary again.

It goes without saying that I follow your work in the magazines. It is always tops.  It is a pleasure to turn to one of your pictures, that even in the reproduction shows all the quality and depth of the original painting.

We are still moving some trees this spring, but will soon be forced to quit as most of them have grown to enormous proportions.

Hereafter I suppose I’ll have to content myself with just puttering around with flowers.

My kindest regards and best wishes to you all.

Sincerely, Joe

Beach sends his best

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