The Saturday Evening Post cover, July 29, 1922
This commission for The Saturday Evening Post is a brilliant example of Joseph Christian Leyendecker's technical prowess and the qualities that make him one of illustration's biggest names. The composition immediately registers with the eye: The stance of the clown effectively fills the composition, while remaining dynamic. The naturalistic pose of the poodle creates a sense of motion. This sense of action is accentuated further by the unseen stage lighting, illuminating the figure from below, conveying a sense of scale and drama. At the time, The Saturday Evening Post covers were not yet using full-color printing technology, therefore Leyendecker is working with a limited palette of reds, whites, and blacks. The artist deftly utilizes a primary palette to guide the eye across the composition with an illusion of rhythm. All these qualities combine to create a stunning image with great impact, perfectly crafted to attract the eye and draw in customers, exemplary of Leyendecker's mastery of communicative illustration.