Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Conversation Piece

Lilly Martin Spencer (1822–1902)
ca. 1851–52
Oil on canvas
28 5/16 x 22 5/8 in. (71.9 x 57.5 cm)
Credit Line:
Maria DeWitt Jesup and Morris K. Jesup Funds, 1998
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 758
The only American woman painter of note in the antebellum period, Spencer specialized in domestic scenes. She used herself and her husband as models in many of her narrative works, including this one. The setting for the family group is likely the artist’s parlor. Many of the small objects decorating her room, such as the Limoges compote and the Carcel lamp, illustrate the taste of the time as well as Spencer’s French heritage.
Signature: [traces of signature at lower right]
Collection of Charles and Ruth Scharf, until 1998; through their estate to Bernard and S. Dean Levy Galleries, New York, June 1998.
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