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 Leonard Emory Luce  (1892 - 1952)

About: Leonard Emory Luce


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Lived/Active: New York/Ohio      Known for: figure, illustrator, commercial art

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following biographical information, submitted October 2005, has been provided by Robert and James Luce, sons of the artist.
Leonard Emory Luce was born on September 27, 1892 an in Ashtabula, Ohio, where he was subsequently raised.  In his youth he was a “printer's devil” and also managed a sign painting business, in Stubenville, OH.  In 1911, he attended the Cleveland School of Art.  In 1914, he went into advertising with his brother CAL (Clyde Arthur) in New York City.
He served in WW I in the 37th regiment, corps of engineers (6/17/16-7/17/19) and attained the rank of corporal.  After the Armistice, he was chosen to remain in France to participate in the AEF Art Training Center in Paris (3/13 to 6/16/1919.)  
In 1920, he married Laura Louise Karcher in Baden, Pennsylvania.  They had three children: Carolyn, Robert, and James.
Around 1925, the family moved to St. Louis, Missouri, where he worked for the Gardner Advertising Agency.  It was there that he hired the artist who painted "The Gerber Baby", which is still on all their packaging and in their ads.
He moved his family to New York City in 1929 where, over time, he became an art director with several advertising agencies, such as BBD&O, J. Walter Thompson, and Young & Rubicam.   He was reputed to have designed the National Biscuit Company logo, and redesigned the masthead for the New York Daily News.
He held several patents on methods to measure advertising layout effectiveness including the "Scanacord", which he developed with Herbert Thompson when working at Arthur Kudner, Inc.  The instrument was on display in the Museum of Science and Industry, Rockefeller Center, New York City in the spring of 1940, and later at the New York World’s Fair.
In a separate project, there was a demonstration of what happens when cars drive by a billboard.  He set up three or four different diameter circles of wood on which he placed cars going at one speed, the landscape at another speed, and the billboard standing still.  The result showed how little time a driver had to observe the message on the billboard, including sight interruptions from other cars, telephone poles, etc,  thus showing that a big illustration and just one or two words were all you could expect to get across.  He used actual miniature billboard messages from the Kudner Agency, took movies of the sequence, then showed them so they could judge whether or not they had a good billboard.
He founded "Eastern Studios" as a freelance art director in 1940, with offices on Madison Avenue, New York City.  During World War II, he provided the US Navy with work on a classified project. 

He continued in this work until his death, April 27, 1952, in New Rochelle, NY.

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