Young Wife: First Stew

Lilly Martin Spencer American

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 758

Painted in New York at the height of Spencer’s popularity, Young Wife: First Stew is the companion piece to Young Husband: First Marketing. The produce obtained by the husband on his ill-advised shopping trip now appears on his wife’s kitchen table, including a pineapple, eggs, and asparagus. In the early stages of preparing a stew, the fashionable yet distraught young woman peels an onion, while her puzzled household helper looks on. When exhibited in 1856, the picture was singled out in the press for its technical expertise—notably Spencer’s handling of the still life—as well as the unconventional subject matter.

Young Wife: First Stew, Lilly Martin Spencer (1822–1902), Oil on canvas, American

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