Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Young Husband: First Marketing

Lilly Martin Spencer (1822–1902)
Oil on canvas
29 1/2 x 24 3/4 in. (74.9 x 62.9 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Max N. Berry, 2015
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 758
Spencer portrayed the unvarnished reality of male-female relationships in this painting, which chronicles the travails of early married life. Here, the unseen young wife is not in full command of her kitchen, having sent her young husband out to procure the groceries—a task for which he is evidently not qualified. Using her own husband as a model, Spencer depicted the man stumbling down the street and attempting to hold on to the items in his overflowing basket, attracting gazes from at least one onlooker and suffering a public humiliation. Spencer depicted in humorous terms a real social anxiety of the time: that of setting up a household and running it efficiently.
Signature: Signed and dated at lower right: Lilly M. Spencer / Artist / 1854
William Schaus, New York, until 1859; Renaissance Galleries, Philadelphia; Victor Spark, New York, by 1961; Mr. and Mrs. Edward E. Abrahams, New York, by 1973; Masco Corporation, until 1995; Hon. And Mrs. Max Berry, 1995-present.
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