Kiss Me and You'll Kiss the 'Lasses
Standing amidst a bountiful harvest of fruits in a well-appointed bourgeois interior, the woman pictured here turns from her work to engage an unseen interloper (placed in the position of the viewer) in a playful flirtation. As the title implies, if the interloper tries to kiss her, he will receive a dousing of molasses from the spoon in her hand. Lilly Martin Spencer won popular acclaim in the mid-nineteenth century with anecdotal kitchen scenes such as this one, commissioned by the Cosmopolitan Art Association. Devoted to the encouragement of American genre art, the association also promoted art by women for women. It remains uncertain, however, what kind of appeal Kiss Me … had for female audiences: on the one hand, Spencer's protagonist occupies the domestic sphere of proper Victorian womanhood, yet, on the other hand, she behaves with unconventional boldness and autonomy. Interestingly, the artist experienced similar contradictions in her own life: raised in a progressive family, Spencer supported her husband and large brood with art depicting women in traditional roles.
A verbal description of this work is available through Art Beyond Sight, a guide for people with visual impairments.
- Artist: Lilly Martin Spencer, American, 1822-1902
- Medium: Oil on canvas
- Dates: 1856
- Dimensions: 29 15/16 x 24 15/16 in. (76 x 63.3 cm) (show scale)
- Signature: Signed lower right :"Lilly M. Spencer / 1856"
- Collections:American Art
- Museum Location: This item is on view in American Identities: A New Look, Everyday Life/A Nation Divided, 5th Floor
- Accession Number: 70.26
- Credit Line: A. Augustus Healy Fund
- Rights Statement: No known copyright restrictions
- Caption: Lilly Martin Spencer (American, 1822-1902). Kiss Me and You'll Kiss the 'Lasses, 1856. Oil on canvas, 29 15/16 x 24 15/16 in. (76 x 63.3 cm). Brooklyn Museum, A. Augustus Healy Fund, 70.26
- Record Completeness: Best (83%)