Happy Leyendecker Baby New Year 2022!

Leyendecker Baby New Years 1922
Leyendecker Baby New Years 1922

As I’ve done every New Year’s Eve since 2006, I’ll wish Lines and Colors readers a Happy New Year with one of American illustrator J. C. Leyendecker’s wonderful New Year’s covers for the Saturday Evening Post, in this case from 1922.

Leyendecker was the first to represent the new year as a baby (originally — and occasionally afterward — a cherub) in his illustration for the SEP New Year’s cover in 1906. Over the following three plus decades, his New Year’s covers made the idea into one of our cultural icons.

His New Year’s babies were often involved in some way in the events of the year. In this case, our 1922 baby is marking the recent signing of the U.S.-German Peace Treaty after the end of WWI by salting the tail of the Dove of Peace. Salting a bird’s tail was thought to render the bird incapable of flying away.

The image at top is a digitally restored version of the image from the cover that is being offered as a print by FineArtAmerica. Below it is the cover reproduction from the Saturday Evening Post site.

Whatever else happens this year, may you find joy and inspiration in the great art of the past and present, and in the creation of art yet to be seen!