"New Years Baby, Liberty Magazine Cover"   Lot no. 300

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By Leslie Thrasher (American- 1889-1936)

18.00" x 20.00"
Oil on Canvas
Signed Lower Right



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A New Year's themed cover painting by Leslie Thrasher for the January 9, 1932 edition of Liberty Magazine. The painting finds the serialized couple "Sandy and Lil" renewing their wedding vows in the midst of the Great Depression with a cherubic baby New Year with quill pen acting as the notary clerk. Image follows the tradition of January New Years Babies covers painted by Norman Rockwell and J.C.Lyendecker in The Saturday Evening Post.


The Baby New Year is a personification of the start of a new year, commonly seen in various New Year's customs, especially holiday cards and illustrations for store window displays.


The stereotypical representation of Baby New Year is as a white male baby wearing nothing more than a diaper, a top hat and a sash across his torso that shows the year he is representing. Sometimes he is holding an hourglass or is otherwise associated with one. Often, he is not a complete newborn but is slightly older, because he is frequently shown standing on his own, barely walking, or having a small amount of head hair.


The myth associated with him is that he is a baby at the beginning of his year, but Baby New Year quickly grows up until he is an elderly bearded man like Father Time at the end of his year. At this point, he hands over his duties to the next Baby New Year.

Explore related art collections: Magazine Covers / New Year's / Family / Winter / Children / 1930s / Romance / $5,000 - $20,000

See all original artwork by Leslie Thrasher


            Charles Leslie Thrasher was made famous by signing on for a long-term contract to paint every single weeks cover for Liberty Magazine. It was a back-breaking commitment to work at such a pace and an even greater challenge to come up with enough original cover ideas. The latter problem was partially solved by settling on a continuing story line, which followed a couple's courtship, marriage and children. It was a popular series, later made into a movie called "For the Love of Lil." His marriage provided the ingredients for it, and he served as his own model for the hero. As the presentation was humorous and light, the artwork tended to be lightweight, below the standards of his earlier cover work for The Saturday Evening Post, Collier's, and his advertising illustrations Cream of Wheat, Fisk Tires and Spaulding.

            Thrasher's career had an auspicious beginning. He studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and won a years scholarship to attend the Ecole de Grande Chaumiere in Paris. After his return in 1910, he studied briefly with Howard Pyle, and developed a close friendship with fellow-student Douglas Duer. They both served oversees during World War I, where they were assigned to camouflage with the Fortieth Engineers.

            He resumed his illustration career after returning to the U.S, working for various magazines such as Redbook, Collier's, Popular Magazine, and Everybody's, prior to the Liberty contract.

            Thrasher's career came to an early tragic end when his summer home burned and he developed pneumonia from smoke inhalation.