Happy Leyendecker Baby New Year 2024!

Saturday Evening Post cover, December 1923, featuring a New Years baby by American illustrator J. C. Leyendecker
Saturday Evening Post cover, December 1923 (details), featuring a New Years baby by American illustrator J. C. Leyendecker

As I’ve done every New Year’s Eve for the past 18 years, I’ll wish Lines and Colors readers a Happy New Year with one of J. C. Leyendecer’s New Year’s covers for the Saturday Evening Post, in this case marking the arrival of 1924.

For more Leyendecker to while away your New Year’s day, check the list of Lines and Colors J C. Leyendecker posts at the end of this article.

I wish you all a new year rich with inspiration and appreciation!

 
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Eye Candy for Today: Valerius de Saedeleer landscape

View of Tiegem in winter, Valerius de Saedeleer, oil on canvas
View of Tiegem in winter, Valerius de Saedeleer (details), oil on canvas

View of Tiegem in winter, Valerius de Saedeleer; oil on canvas, roughly 39 x 45 inches (100 x 115 cm), liink is to Wikimedia Commons; image was sourced from past Christie’s auction, so presumably the original is in a ptivate collection.

Belgian painter Valerius de Saedeleer, who was active in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, was noted for his quiet, contemplative winter scenes, often of the landscape at night.

 
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Giorgio de Chirico

Giorgio de Chirico
Giorgio de Chirico

Giorgio de Chirico was an Italian artist actve in the early to mid 20th century who pioneeded what he called metaphysical art, in which he employed enigmatic arrangements of objects and eerie scenes of city squares that used deliberate distortions of linear perspective to create feelings of disorientation.

This work was very influential on the Surrealists, who would likewise incorporate disorienting imagery in their dream-fuled excursions into the mysterious and bizarre.

The Surrealists unofficially adopted him as a kind of contemporary proto-Surrealist, and extolled him work as a kindred spirit, until de Chirico took an abrupt turn in the middle of his career, abandoning the contra-logical imaginings of the metaphysical for a much more straightforward and traditional approach to painting. At that point, de Chirico and the Surrealists apparently agreed to mutually despise one another.

 
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Eye Candy for Today: Godward’s In Realms of Fancy

In Realms of Fancy, John William Godward, oil on canvas
In Realms of Fancy, John William Godward, oil on canvas (details)

In Realms of Fancy, John William Godward; oil on canvas; roughly 15 inches in diameter ( 39 cm); link is to Wikimedia Commons, original is in a private collection.

Victorian painter John William Godward — known for his portrayals of languid women in repose wearing flowing, often diaphanous attire — gives us another refined example of his preferred subject. We are left to imagine where her flights of fancy take her.

 
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Stow Wengenroth

Stow Wengenroth, lithograph
Stow Wengenroth, lithographs

In this age where we’re bombarded from all sides by color — often intense and accompanied by motion — it’s easy to become jaded and insensitive to the visual charms of monochromatic images.

Just as we sometimes need to turn off the screens and the fast pace of moden life in order to appreciate the quiet joys of a slower lifestyle, it’s worth taking a step back and looking afresh at the visual charms of images in which the power of composition and value give us a different view of the importance of color.

Stow Wengenroth was an American artist active in the early to mid 20th century who was known promarily for his stone lithography. In ccontrast to the often linear nature of many other printmaking techniques, lithography deals primarily in value — lights and darks — as well as texture.

Wengenroth delves into the realm of value like he was swimming in his natural environment; shadows and light play games of balance and focus, drawing us into his carefully designed compositions. Tone and texture control our gaze, bringing our attention inexorably to the focus he intends.

Take a few minutes to slow down and allow yourself to be enchanted by his monochromatic world. The reproductions of his prints on the National Gallery of Art website are the largest and best reproductions I could find.

[Suggestion courtesy of Geri Huxsoll]

 
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Adoration of the Shepherds, Rembrandt etching

The Adoration of the Shepherds, with the lamp, Rembrandt van Rijn, etching
The Adoration of the Shepherds, with the lamp, Rembrandt van Rijn, etching (details)

The Adoration of the Shepherds, with the lamp, Rembrandt van Rijn; etching, roughly 6 x 7″ (14 x 17 cm); in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The museum’s page indicates this is the first of three states. I looked around a bit but I can’s find a later state, though several major museums have prints of the first state.

It’s interesting, however, to compare this to another etching by Rembrandt of the same biblical event, but handled quite differently.

 
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