On the day of my first personal encounter with BarclayI remember the sensation of walking out of the strong glare of mid-day sun into the gloom of his fine arts gallery, where the only window was the glass door on which I had tentatively knocked. As my eyes adjusted, I was first confused, then amazed to find myself surrounded by fine prints by Rembrandt and Whistler.
I had been met at the door of the Gallery by a young man in a workman’s apron, who said he would let Barclay know that I had arrived. When he disappeared, I moved closer to the prints, trying to absorb the fact of their complex existence in this stark, unlikely place, a converted industrial building along a strip-commercial thoroughfare in a suburban town, east of the Berkeley hills and the glittering expanse of San Francisco Bay well to the west.
A few moments later, Barclay found me staring fixedly at the moody prints, etched line and shadow, pulled from incised, metal plates. Looking up, I was greeted by a big smile and a resounding hello. He asked me if I would like to see the picture framing lab in the basement as well as other parts of the collection. Here, I also met Sharon, Barc’s wife, elegant in jeans, with rolled up sleeves and eager interest.
This was not exactly what I had expected from a BART board director and successful industrialist. It was not to be the last time Barclay surprised me.