Formally dressed group of woman with four men
Medium: Charcoal on illustration board
Dimensions: composition: 31 9/16 × 25 7/8 in. (80.2 × 65.7 cm)
sheet: 33 1/8 × 28 in. (84.1 × 71.1 cm)
Illustration Citation: Date and place of publication not identified
Credit Line: F. V. du Pont Acquisition Fund, 1992
About: In this composition, four formally-dressed men admire and perhaps compete for the attention of an elegant woman. McClelland Barclay shows her from the back, perhaps in order to give equal emphasis to the men's expressions and demeanor. Still, she dominates the scene, and not just by her central position. The men's black tuxedos are a backdrop for her sinuous figure and the ruffles and bow of her dress. Her profile is just as compelling as a full-face view: perfetly coiffed and made-up, with the even features characteristic of "the American beauty" that dominated popular culture of the period, and for which Barclay was especially well-known.
Barclay was an illustrator as well as a designer of jewelry and other decorative arts produced by his firm The McClelland Barclay Art Company. His flappers, Hollywood celebrities, and the high society set populated his fiction illustrations in Cosmopolitan and Redbook; his covers appeared on The Ladies' Home Journal, Country Gentleman, and the Saturday Evening Post. He was also sought after by advertising clients. During World War II, he created propaganda posters and camouflage designs. A naval Lieutenant Commander, Barclay was killed in action when his ship was torpedoed in the Solomon Island.
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