A charming "Old Timer" sits behind the wheel of an automobile in this original composition by the famed American illustrator J.C. Leyendecker. With his deliberate brushstrokes and distinctive cross-hatching technique, Leyendecker brilliantly captures America's lasting love affair with fast cars and the open highway in this ode to the "romance of the road." Painted in 1942, the piece was specially commissioned for an advertising campaign by the American gasoline company Amoco. Leyendecker's final printed illustration was accompanied by the slogan "Still going strong!", a nod to both his endearing subject as well as the then-51-year-old history of the company.
Remembered today for his numerous magazine covers, Leyendecker is also credited for evolving a modern form of marketing that he helped elevate to an art. Filled with cultural significance, this delightful example communicates the rich history of the energy and automobile industries in the United States.
Born in Germany in 1874, Leyendecker emerged as a major talent near the turn of the twentieth century, becoming the most well-liked and sought-after American illustrator of his day. In 1898, Leyendecker produced the first of 48 covers for Collier’s magazine. The next year, he painted his first cover for Saturday Evening Post magazine, which was the beginning of a 44-year association with that esteemed publication. Over the course of his career, he would also paint covers for Life magazine, illustrations for a library of books, and transform advertising for such companies as B. Kuppenheimer & Co. and Interwoven Socks. His remarkable and extensive oeuvre ensured his influence over an entire generation of young artists, most notably Norman Rockwell, who was vocal about the impact of Leyendecker on his work. His unique hatching technique makes his distinctive style instantly recognizable, and he remains one of the most beloved American illustrators of the early 20th century.
Canvas: 21" high x 37" wide
Frame: 28 1/8" high x 44" wide
Signature: Signed "JCL” (lower left)