Today I would like to share ‘Young Husband First Marketing’ by American painter Lilly Martin Spencer. This clever street scene depicts a new husband experiencing some difficulty as he carries home foods purchased at the market—presumably an errand he is performing for his wife. He does not seem happy, though the man behind him seems to find some enjoyment from his struggle. The facial expressions between the two men create an interesting juxtaposition, exhibiting both humor and stress, which occasionally go hand-in-hand.
The new husband seems to be aware of the smirking man’s presence, though he is trying to ignore him, and nonetheless he is too preoccupied with saving his chickens after his eggs and lettuce fell out of his basket and onto the sidewalk. Whether the smirking man is a fellow husband or a happy bachelor is unknown, but given the time period I would presume he’s the former. In that case, perhaps his smirk is less spiteful than it seems; He might be sympathizing with the new husband’s stain while making light of his situation. After all, in the grand scope of things which can go array in one’s marriage, cracked eggs on the sidewalk isn’t something too serious of an offense.
That aside, I love the detail throughout this scene, including the careful rendering of the street and depth within the background. I also admire Martin’s ability to convey movement in such a tightly composed scene.