Mary Horgan Mowbray-Clarke

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Mary Horgan Mowbray-Clarke
Mary Helena Bothwell Horgan

DiedNovember 20, 1962[1]
Notable work
The Argonaut art history (1907), author; Dutch Garden in Rockland County, landscape architect
Spouse(s)John Frederick Mowbray-Clarke

Mary Horgan Mowbray-Clarke (1874–1962) was an American art critic, writer, publisher, instructor, landscape architect, and the proprietor of The Sunwise Turn, a hotbed of artistic activity and anarchist political thought in New York City during the nineteen-teens and twenties. She was also the wife of John Frederick Mowbray-Clarke, a sculptor who helped organize of the influential 1913 Armory Show exhibition of modern art.[1][2]

Biography and career[edit]

Mowbray-Clarke was born in Nyack, New York in 1874. She attended the Art Students League of New York as a girl of 16. It was there that she met Arthur B. Davies in 1888; the two became romantically involved, and Davies introduced her to a number of art world notables.[3]

In 1907, she published her first book, The Argonaut art history.[4]

Mowbray-Clarke and Madge Jenison opened The Sunwise Turn in 1916, on Thirty-first Street just east of Fifth Avenue in New York City. Davies designed the interior, which was "burning orange," while the sign in front was created by the artist Henry Fitch Taylor. In 1919, the shop relocated to 51 East Forty-fourth Street, part of the Yale Club building.[5]

The bookshop served as an important intellectual and social center for artists, writers, and revolutionary political thinkers in New York. In addition to selling books, art, textiles, and sculpture, The Sunwise Turn published small editions (including the first edition of The Dance of Siva: Fourteen Indian Essays by Ananda Coomaraswamy, introducing the American public to Indian art and culture, as well as volumes by Witter Bynner, Rainer Maria Rilke, and Lord Edward John Dunsany) and hosted readings and literary events with Robert Frost, Amy Lowell, Lola Ridge, and Alfred Kreymborg. In 1920, a young Peggy Guggenheim went to work as an unpaid assistant in the shop, absorbing Mowbray-Clarke's influence and being first exposed to the avant-garde artists and writers who would come to shape her world as a patron.[6] The bookshop closed for business in 1927, and the corporation was dissolved in 1928.[7][8][9]

The Mowbray-Clarkes lived in Rockland County, New York at a farm and studio called Brocken, just six miles from Davies. Like the Sunwise Turn, Brocken became a social center for exchange of political ideas from socialism to anarchism, and a place for communion between "free spirits."[3][9]

In the 1930s and 40s, Mary Mowbray-Clarke established herself as a landscape architect, designing the award-winning Dutch Garden in Rockland County, as well as a number of gardens found in homes near that area.[10]

Mowbray-Clarke died in 1962, in New City, New York. She was survived by her son, John Bothwell Mowbray-Clarke of Bethesda Maryland, and two granddaughters.[1]

The archival materials of John and Mary Mowbray-Clarke, and of the Sunwise Turn Bookshop are held by the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin[11] and in the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.[12]


  1. ^ a b c "Mary Mowbray-Clarke Dies at 88; Long Active in the Arts" (PDF). Orangetown Telegram, Pearl River, N.Y. November 29, 1962. Retrieved 5 February 2013.
  2. ^ "Biography for John Frederick Mowbray-Clarke". Retrieved 5 February 2013.
  3. ^ a b Perlman, Bennard B.; Arthur Bowen Davies (1999). The lives, loves, and art of Arthur B. Davies. Albany, NY: State Univ. of New York Press. pp. 205, 209. OCLC 248092970. Retrieved 5 February 2013.
  4. ^ Mowbray-Clarke, Mary Helena Bothwell (Horgan) (1907). The Argonaut art history. New York: The author. OCLC 30326368.
  5. ^ Rainey, Lawrence S. (1998). Institutions of modernism: literary elites and public culture. New Haven, Conn: Yale Univ. Press. pp. 66–67. OCLC 185693963.
  6. ^ Dearborn, Mary V. (2004). Mistress of modernism: the life of Peggy Guggenheim. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. pp. 34–35. OCLC 186358270.
  7. ^ "Sunwise Turn Bookshop: A Preliminary Inventory of Its Records in the Manuscript Collection at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center". The Harry Ransom Center. University of Texas at Austin. Retrieved 5 February 2013.
  8. ^ "Mowbray-Clarke". Hudson River Valley Heritage. Southeastern New York Library Resources Council. Retrieved 5 February 2013.
  9. ^ a b Antliff, Allan (2001). Anarchist modernism: art, politics, and the first American avant-garde. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. pp. 124–144. OCLC 186408759.
  10. ^ Schmidt, Donna (September 15, 2011). "The Secret Garden in New City: Dutch Garden's Tete-a-Tete seat restored". New City Patch. Retrieved 5 February 2013.
  11. ^ "The Sunwise Turn/Mary Mowbray-Clarke Papers at the Harry Ransom Center 1852-1987". The Harry Ransom Center at The University of Texas at Austin. Retrieved 4 September 2016.
  12. ^ "John Frederick and Mary Horgan Mowbray-Clarke papers, 1901-1925". Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved 5 February 2013.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]