Thursday, July 16, 2015

Up Close; McClelland Barclay (Again)

I visited the fabulous Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Florida near the end of April. Besides aircraft, the museum displays aviation-related artwork, including that of McClelland Barclay (1891–1943). As this mentions, Barclay was a highly successful commercial artist who became an active-duty naval officer in 1940, illustrating posters and other war-related work. He died when his ship was sunk in the South Pacific.

Two years ago, I wrote an Up Close post dealing with Barclay. Having the chance to photograph another original of his work, I'm pleased to provide a second Barclay Up Close here.

As is usually the case with this sort of photo, lighting conditions are not ideal; here the main light source strongly shines from above the painting. This has one advantage, namely that the impasto in this painting is better highlighted. Also keep in mind that poster art usually works best where images are simplified, so the example below is more simply done than the advertising image featured in my previous Barclay post.

Click on the images to enlarge.

Here's an establishing view of the poster art.  The aircraft appears to be a trainer (note the flimsy windscreen), yet it isn't painted yellow, as were Navy training planes around 1940.  The ship in the background seems to be a battleship rather than an aircraft carrier.  But Barclay had to adjust reality in order to maximize poster conventions.  A yellow airplane would grossly interfere with the composition and message.  The battleship superstructure is useful for its symbolism of the U.S. Navy.

A detailed view of a pilot who might be a aviation cadet along with a lieutenant wearing pilot's wings on his uniform.

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