Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Up Close: McClelland Barclay

This is part of an occasional series dealing with detail images of paintings featuring the brushwork of the artist. Previous posts can be found via the "Up close" topic label link on the sidebar.

The present post deals with McClelland Barclay (1891-1943), a leading illustrator from the 1920s into the early 1940s. He was killed when his ship was sunk by the Japanese during World War 2. Additional information on Barclay plus a number of his illustrations can be found here.

Featured here is an October 1932 cover illustration for Pictorial Review magazine. It is similar to art he produced for Buick and Fisher Body (General Motors) advertising a few years earlier.

The source of the detail images is explained below:

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The Kelly Collection has what is probably the outstanding holding of American illustration art by private individuals (not organizations). I was able to view part of it at The Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California towards the end of a January 12 - March 31, 2013 exhibition run. The collection concentrates on illustration art created roughly 1890-1935 and one of its purposes is to further knowledge and appreciation of illustration from that era.

Non-flash photography was allowed, so I took a large number of high-resolution photos of segments of those original works. This was to reference the artists' techniques in a manner not always easy to obtain from printed reproductions. (However, the exhibition catalog does feature a few large-scale detail reproductions.)

I thought that readers of this blog might also be interested in seeing the brushwork of master illustrators up close to increase their understanding of how the artists worked and perhaps to serve as inspiration for their own painting if they too are artists.

Below is an image of the entire illustration coupled with my work. Click on the latter to enlarge.

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This image is from the Kelly Collection website.

Many of the illustrators featured in this series of posts painted in the impasto mode of thick paint and bold brush strokes. Barclay's style varied considerably over time, but the illustration shown here can be considered archetypical Barclay. Here he reverses the pattern seen in other posts where the face of the subject is treated more gently and with less impasto than other parts of the painting. In the detail image, we see some impasto on the woman's face, but her coat and hat are painted thinly.

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