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H. Siddons Mowbray
Idle Hours
12 x 16 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of William T. Evans

Mowbray's paintings encapsulate Gilded Age luxury. He used a brilliantly colored palette to satisfy his wealthy patrons and their fantasies of the exotic East. In Idle Hours, the artist re-creates a harem with its cushions, flowers, and mosaic tile floor. Two women lounging in richly colored robes interrupt their mandolin playing and conversation to gaze at turtles being fed. Mowbray heightens the sense of confinement by enclosing the women in a compressed space.