J.C. Leyendecker, Republicans and Democrats

Though most of Leyendecker’s work consisted of  commercial advertisements and Saturday Evening Post covers, some of his work, such as the one reproduced below, clearly falls into the narrative art world — humor and satire, in the case of Republicans vs. Democrats.

Republicans vs. Democrats shows each party representative astride the animal traditionally associated with their political parties. The Republican, of course, is a conservatively-dressed businessman. The Democrat is a galloping academic carrying rolled-up plans (for an ideal society?)— ideas and ideals perhaps as simple as ABC. And though the academic Democrat is racing  along, the heavily-striding Republican elephant maintains the lead.

(Click the image for a lightbox view)

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Except for the curators at the Haggin Museum in Stockton, California, most critics dismiss Leyendecker's work as "mere" advertisement and illustration. However, it is arguable that even advertisements are a kind of narrative, just as video commercials can be seen as condensed stories. Certainly the work of Rockwell and Leyendecker done in support of the Ammerican effort in  the Second World War implies, and even directly sets fforth, a moral point of view common to most traditional narrative art.

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