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McClelland Barclay



McClelland Barclay

McClelland Barclay

  This oil on canvas painting was created by McClelland Barclay for the December 1932 cover of Pictorial Review magazine. Here, his use of bright contrasting color captures the flow of the evening gown, modeled by his wife, Helen, as she steps forward out of the canvas.

  McClelland Barclay was born on May 9, 1891 in St. Louis, MO. He was an active member of the Art Student's League, The Chicago Art Club, The Society of Illustrators, and the Artist's Guild. By 1912, he worked out of a studio in New York City.

  As WWI erupted, he served in the US Navy, creating a series of posters for the American Red Cross. He later produced covers for most of the top magazines of the time, including The Saturday Evening Post, Cosmopolitan, Pictorial Review, Ladies Home Journal, Colliers, and Country Gentleman. Among his most identifying advertising works, is his extensive advertising artwork done for the General Motors Division of Fisher Body, in which the idea of the Fisher Body Girl was conceived. The "Fisher Body Girl", introduced in 1930 was his wife, Helen Barclay, who was only 19 years old at the time. Many compare her popularity to that of the earlier "Gibson Girl". Helen's image graced so many magazines and billboards, that she was readily recognized wherever she went. McClelland Barclay also produced countless advertising images for the Elgin Watch Company, Lever Brothers, A & P, and many others. He also served as a judge for the 1935 Miss America pageant. By the late 1930's, Barclay also began producing bronze plated sculptures, bowls, pins, and wallhangings with the artist's signature.

  In 1941, Barclay joined the war effort for the Second World War. He was appointed Lieutenant Commander of the Naval Reserves. He volunteered to become a combat artist,and was soon designing posters for the war effort. Those posters were to become some of the Navy's most popular recruiting images of the time. He was commissioned to create official portraits of officers and he also did sketches of wounded soldiers. He was able to portray the day to day events of the war for the American public. On July 18, 1943, his ship was hit by a Japanese torpedo, killing Barclay and most of the crew, as well.

  In 1995, McClelland Barclay was inducted into the Society of Illustrators Hall of Fame.

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