The collection had been on tour for some time and returned to the museum in May. Since then work has been completed on a newly remodeled gallery in which the collection will be on display until December 31, 2010 (just long enough for the next installment of my traditional Happy Leyendecker Baby New Year post).
Unfortunately, the museum has not matched the renovated gallery display with a much needed revision of their online image gallery, which still suffers from images with camera lens distortion and color aberration (I’ve straightened out a few of the above images with the Lens Correction filter in Photoshop).
The images are also frustratingly small, but you can get an idea of the breadth and depth of the collection, which contains some superb examples of Leyendecker’s work, as well as unique early pieces.
The museum’s website does include an article about the exhibit and a Leyendecker biography, which includes a history of the collection and of Earl Rowland, the museum’s former director who assembled the museum’s holdings of Leyerdecker and other noted illustrators.
As far as I know, there is not a printed catalog of the museum’s Leyendecker collection, but a new, long awaited book on Leyendecker was released in 2008, J.C. Leyendecker, by Laurence S. Cutler and Judy Goffman Cutler.
J.C. Leyendecker, for those who are unfamiliar with his work, was one of the finest illustrators in the history of the art form. His relative obscurity continues to amaze me; he should at least share the spotlight usually focused on Norman Rockwell, if not eclipsing him to some degree.
For a quick selection of large images, see these two articles on Golden Age Comic Book Stories. For more on Leyendecker, including additional links to large images and other resources, see some of my previous posts listed below.
[Addendum: Since publication of this article, the Haggin Museum has updated their online gallery with some higher quality images of 8 of the works.]