The Calenders was inspired by Edward Lane’s nineteenth-century translation of a collection of traditional Arabic stories, dating back to the medieval period, called “The Thousand and One Nights.” Three princes disguised as Calenders (a Sufic order of wandering mendicant dervishes), who each had but one eye, shaven chins, and thin, twisted mustaches, entertain a group of Baghdad ladies with tales of their recent misfortunes. Mowbray also worked interchangeably with Greek, Oriental, and Italian Renaissance themes. Regardless of time or place, Mowbray sought to create an aesthetic ambience for his exotic subjects.
Artist Henry Siddons Mowbray, American, 1858-1928
Title
  • The Calenders
Date 1889
Medium oil on canvas
Dimensions Unframed: 9 1/4 × 18 1/8 inches (23.5 × 46 cm)
Framed: 22 5/8 × 31 1/2 × 3 3/16 inches (57.5 × 80 × 8.1 cm)
Credit Line Founders Society Purchase, Beatrice W. Rogers Fund
Accession Number 1984.24
Department American Art before 1950
On View Modern C233, Level 2 (see map)
Signed Signed, upper right: H. Siddons Mowbray
Henry Siddons Mowbray;
by February 1889, Thomas B. Clark (New York, New York, USA);
by 1897, Miss Grace Hearn;
before 1980, private collection (New Jersey, USA);
1980, Jordan Volpe Gallery (New York, New York, USA);
1980, Grand Central Art Galleries (New York, New York, USA);
before 1982, Mr. and Mrs. Haig Tashjian.
1984, Joan Michelman, Ltd..
1984-present, purchase by the Detroit Institute of Arts (Detroit, Michigan, USA)
Third Annual Art Loan Exhibition of the New York Athletic Club. Exh. cat., New York Athletic Club. New York, 1889, no. 36. [Note: painting still unfinished when exhibited]

64th Annual Exhibition. Exh. cat., National Academy of Design. New York, 1889, no. 317.

Catalogue of the 2nd Annual Exhibition of American Oil Paintings. Exh. cat., Art Institute of Chicago. Chicago, 1889, no. 67.

“Art Notes.” Art Interchange XXII (April 13, 1889): pp. 113-114.

“Some New American Pictures.” New York Evening Sun (February 7, 1889). [from newspaper clipping contained in "Scrapbook of Thomas Clarke," Thomas B. Clarke papers, Archives of American Art, Roll 597, fr. 303. Note: reviewer called the painting "a little bouquet of prettiness."]

Exhibition of Paintings and Drawings by H. Siddons Mowbray. Exh. cat., M. Knoedler & Co. New York, 1897, no. 12.

Weinberg, Barbara. “Thomas B. Clarke: Foremost Patron of American Art from 1872-1899.” American Art Journal VIII, 1 (May 1976): pp. 52-83 (ill.).

Owens, Gwendolyn. “H. Siddons Mowbray, Easel Painter.” Art and Antiques 3 (July-August 1980): pp. 82-89 (ill.).

59th Annual Founders Exhibition of Arts. Exh. cat., Grand Central Art Galleries. New York, 1980, pp. 18, 20, no. 55 (ill.).

American Realist and Impressionist Paintings from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Haig Tashjian. Exh. cat., Parris Art Museum. Southampton, NY, 1982, p. 63 (fig. 13).

Kan, Michael. “Director’s Report.” Bulletin of the DIA 62 (1985): p. 4 (ill.).

Noble Dreams, Wicked Pleasures: Orientalism in American Art, 1870-1930. Exh. cat., Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. Williamstown, MA, 2000, p. 172, no. 32 (ill.).