In his book, My Adventures As An Illustrator, Norman Rockwell talks about his admiration of J. C. Leyendecker’s work. It is clear that he learned a lot from him. But I have never seen a Rockwell painting that was so obviously influenced by Leyendecker’s style. This is a very interesting piece because from the earliest Saturday Evening Post covers Rockwell ever did, his own style showed through. I would love to know when this was painted because it is extremely well done, so it can’t be too early in his career. But it is also heavily indebted to Leyendecker. Even down to some subtle diagonal paint strokes under her eyebrow, and the stylization of her hair.
I actually thought it was a Leyendecker, until I looked at the hands and the tip of her nose. I didn’t know for sure it was Rockwell, but it just didn’t seem completely right. Confusing.
This painting sold for $845,000 and it is a pretty special piece. I would love to know more about it. Who was the client and what was the purpose of the painting? And particularly, when was it painted? Even though I see Rockwell doing a Leyendecker turn here, I don’t mean to put it down in any way. It is a beautiful painting in itself. And who ever did J. C. Leyendecker better than this? Even F. X. Leyendecker didn’t do it.