Happy Leyendecker Baby New Year 2021!

JC Leyendeckers Saturday Evening Post New Years Baby cover for 1921
JC Leyendeckers Saturday Evening Post New Years Baby cover for 1921 (details)

As I’ve done every New Year’s Eve for the past 15 years, I’ll wish all Lines and Colors readers a Happy New Year with another of J.C. Leyendecker’s terrific New Year’s Baby covers for the Saturday Evening Post.

Equipped with a pickaxe and shiny lunchpail, our 1921 Leyendecker baby seems ready to get to work in the new year. Let’s hope that’s the case for the rest of us in 2021.

This is the image on the Saturday Evening Post website. There is a larger one here, from this post on Mr. Magazine.

See my 2006 post for background on the origin of the Leyendecker New Years baby covers for the Saturday Evening Post.

No matter what else happens, I wish you all a new year filled with beautiful, inspiring art!


Fanny Churberg (Update)

Fanny Churberg
Fanny Churberg

19th century Finnish landscape painter Fanny Churberg studied in Helsinki, Düsseldorf, and Paris. She carried from the painters of the Düsseldorf school a love of plain air painting and intently observed landscapes.

I love her brushy, textural paint application, best seen if you zoom in or download the high-resolution images of her paintings.

I first mentioned Fanny Churberg in 2016.


Adoration of the Shepherds, Matthias Stom

Adoration of the Shepherds, Matthias Stom (Stomer)
Adoration of the Shepherds (details), Matthias Stom (Stomer)

The Adoration of the Shepherds, Matthias Stom (also called Stomer); oil on canvas, I don’t have size information; link is to zoomable image on Google Art Project, high-res downloadable file on Wikimedia Commons; original is in the Palazzo Madama, Turin.

Stom was a 17th century Dutch (or Flemish) painter known for his paintings done in Italy, where he became influenced by the work of Caravaggio and his followers.

He did at least three different versions of this scene. In all of them, the child is the source of light, throwing the other figures into high relief against the dark background with a dramatic chiaroscuro characteristic of Caravaggio.

I like this one in particular, with the interesting and strongly rendered faces of the shepherds, and the beautiful modeling of their hands.


Beleaguered Leyendecker Santa

J.C. Leyendecker Santa Claus Saturday Eevening Post cover
J.C. Leyendecker Santa Claus Saturday Eevening Post cover

Another wonderful Saturday Evening Post Santa Claus cover by the brilliant American illustrator J.C. Leyendecker, who I think played a major role in forming our modern image of the Jolly One.

Here, he is portrayed as not so jolly as he fends off the unwanted attention of the house’s stalwart defender, who apparently doesn’t recognize “Santa” under his costume and strap-on beard as he attempts to put up decorations.

This illustration from Leyendecker, who worked primarily in the early part of the 20th century was reprinted here on a 1993 issue. I don’t know the date of its original publication.

The only large copy of this image I could find was on Pinterest. The Pinterest post is here, the image itself is here.


Eye Candy for Today: Asano Takeji woodblock print

Snow at Ginkakuji Temple, Asano Takeji
Snow at Ginkakuji Temple, Asano Takeji
Snow at Ginkakuji Temple, Asano Takeji, woodblock print, sheet size 10 x 14 inches (26 x 36 cm); links is to Ukiyo-e Search, large file here.

Asano Takeji was a 20th century Japanese printmaker who worked in the manner of both the shin hanga (new prints) and sōsaku hanga (creative prints) schools of woodblock printmaking. The former is a collaborative effort between an artist, a carver, a printmaker and a publisher. In the latter, the artist does the entire process.

In the case of this beautiful evocation of a temple in the quiet of snow — one of the artist’s earliest prints — he is working in the shin hanga manner.

Happy Winter Solstice!


Harold Knight

Harold Knight
Harold Knight

Harold Knight was an English painter active in the late 19th end early 20th centuries, and the husband of noted painter Laura Knight (née Laura Johnson), who he met when both were art students.

Harold Knight was known as a portraitist and genre painter. I find his formal portraits of men to be well executed but somewhat prosaic.

His genre paintings and portraits of women — usually engaged in some daily activity, like writing, reading, sewing. or playing music — are quite another thing.

To me they speak of pleasure taken in the little, seemingly insignificant, moments of our lives, moments that can be elevated to special and important if only we would stop and observe.

Some of his interiors remind me of the American painter Edmund Charles Tarbell, and of the apparent influence of Vermeer on both artists.

I am especially drawn to Knight’s paintings in which the subject is portrayed in front of a window, which gives an indication of season and time of day, and adds to the feeling of being present in the moment.