|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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