A defining huge original charcoal on board of a divine bathing beauty in a smart, streamlined art deco style by the American Illustrator McClelland Barclay. Model looks to be Gracie Allen and this was most likely used in the General Motors Body by Fisher Advertising campaign for which Barclay is fondly remembered. Work is a defining example by this talented and prolific artist and beautifully matted and framed.
A bio of McClelland Barclay courtesy of Walt Reed and other sources McCLELLAND BARCLAY (1891-1943) was appointed a Lieutenant Commander, United States Naval Reserve, during World War II and contributed many posters, illustrations and officer portraits for the Navy before being reported missing in action, in the Pacific theatre, aboard an L. S. T. which was torpedoed. Barclay was most noted for his ability to paint strikingly beautiful women, in a painterly and unique pin-up style, best exemplified by his series for General Motors illustrating the slogan, “Body by Fisher”. By the age of 21, Barclay’s work had been published in The Saturday Evening Post, Ladies’ Home Journal, Redbook and Cosmopolitan magazines.
Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Barclay was a student of H. C. Ives, George Bridgman and Thomas Fogarty. He was a member of the Artists Guild, the Art Students League of New York and the Society of Illustrators. By 1925, Barclay was painting covers for many national magazines. He also painted cover portraits of movie stars for many film magazines in the 1920s and 1930s. He began painting movie poster art for Hollywood studios during the 1930s as well, and was considered a superstar in the film industry. His images also helped sell products. He also illustrated advertisements for Whitman’s Chocolates, Texaco Oil, Camel and Chesterfield cigarettes. Barclay did not limit himself to painting. From the time he married in 1930, he produced numerous sculptures, which were manufactured out of metal in a range of objects, such as bowls, boxes, pins, and wall hangings by the McClelland Barclay Art Company. In June 1938, he was appointed Assistant Naval Constructor with the US Naval Reserve. In mid-1940, Barclay prepared experimental camouflage designs for Navy combat aircraft, but evaluation tests revealed that pattern camouflage was of little use for aircraft. Within weeks of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Barclay completed the first of many recruiting posters for the Navy. In 1944 Barclay was awarded the Art Directors Club Medal posthumously, “in recognition of his long and distinguished record in editorial illustration and advertising art and in honor of his devotion and meritorious service to his country as a commissioned officer of the United States Navy.”