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Charles Beach
(1886 - 1952) U.S.A.

Charles Beach

Leyendecker's model


Leyendecker met Beach in 1903, when the young model from Cleveland first posed for him. The artist was impressed not only with Beach's handsome face and physique, but also with his ability to hold poses for extended lengths of time. They soon became lovers, and their relationship lasted for about 50 years.

Their relationship lasted until Leyendecker's death. Over the next thirty years, Beach's image as the "Arrow Man," as well as Leyendecker's other representations of him, became one of the most widely circulated visual icons in mainstream American culture. In this capacity, Beach became the symbol of American prosperity, sophistication, manliness, and style.

"The Arrow collar man in all his forms got more fan mail than Rudolph Valentino or any other male film star of the era... As many as 17,000 letters a week arrived at Arrow headquarters pledging eternal love, making immodest proposals, and threatening suicide if the Arrow collar man, stiffly starched, didn't arrive on the lovelorn's doorstep."

For forty-nine years, Beach functioned as Leyendecker's model, lover, cook, and business manager. The household was extremely careful in maintaining a strict, even secretive, privacy. Although Beach's features were much in the public's gaze, few actual photographs of him are to be found. Beach, presumably at Leyendecker's instruction, burned virtually all correspondence and many art works after the artist's death. Accordingly, few facts are known about their relationship.


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