McClelland Barclay (1891-1943)ARTIST GALLERY

Naval Officer & Redhead
Naval Officer & Redhead

McClelland Barclay was born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1891. He attended grammar school and high school in the area and studied art at Washington University, in St. Louis. During those years he was a student of H. C. Ives, George Bridgman and Thomas Fogarty.

After moving to New York, he began his career as a magazine illustrator in 1912. He quickly became know for his ability to paint strikingly beautiful women in a rather simple setting using bold colors. This is best exemplified by a series of paintings he did for General Motors, which carried the slogan of "Body by Fisher". Some of his more noteworthy advertising clients included Lever Brothers Company, Frigidaire, A&P, Elgin Watches, and especially Humming Bird Hosiery.

He also illustrated fiction for many of the large circulation magazines. His use of color and his ability to capture the flowing grace of his subjects, made his covers for The Saturday Evening Post and Country Gentleman particularly memorable.

He married in 1930 to Helen Barclay and almost immediately began to expand into areas of interest that included jewelry design, sculpting in metal and utilitarian decorative items for the home. Under the name of McClelland Barclay Art Company he manufactured such items as bowls, boxes, pins, bookends and wall hangings out of metal. He produced many sculpted pieces of women in dramatic poses and scenes that included animals and nature.

He was appointed a Lieutenant Commander in the United States Naval Reserve during World War II and began serving as a combat artist. Many of his covers appeared on the cover of Sea Power magazine because of his realistic rendering of action scenes. He was also commissioned to paint portraits of the officers and develop propaganda posters to encourage support of the war effort. Lt. Commander Barclay was killed in action in 1943 when a Japanese submarine torpedoed his landing craft as it approached New Georgia Island.

The Art Directors Club Metal was awarded to him posthumously for his valor and courage in service to his country and his profession. He was a man of many talents and interest that seemed to thrive in dynamic environments and died while doing what he loved most.