What the Mormon grandparent may not know is that the creator of those ads, J.C. Leyendecker, was gay, gay, gay—and so were his images, if you have half a gaydar (or, frankly, even if you don't—just look at these half-exposed nipples and bulging packages and poodles). His paintings are packed with codes, jokes, and tender moments between men, sometimes gazing at each other even when they're being posed as the picture-perfect husbands of wives sitting right next to them. You clicked on that link, right?
Leyendecker (1874-1951) wasn't out in the contemporary sense; he couldn't be. But his images often featured his lifelong partner, Charles Beach, including the painting above, where the figure on the left is modeled on Beach. That painting is called Men Reading, and it was created in 1914 to be used in an ad. The painting spent this spring in Tacoma as part of Hide/Seek, the art exhibition that was censored after being attacked by the Catholic League in Washington, D.C., then traveled to the Brooklyn Museum and Tacoma Art Museum. (Two out gay artists in Seattle, Joey Veltkamp and Jeffry Mitchell, responded to Hide/Seekhere.)