"POWER OF FASHION," LARGE HAND-COLORED LITHOGRAPHIC PRINT, CIRCA 1853
SPENCER, Lilly Martin. Hand-colored lithograph. "Power of Fashion." New York: W. Schaus, circa 1853. Original lithographic print, colored by hand; in contemporary gilt frame, entire piece measures 20 by 26 inches. $3800.
Large hand-colored lithographic print of an original work by popular 19th-century American painter Lilly Martin Spencer.
As a woman in the 19th century who made her living painting, Lilly Martin Spencer was a decided anomaly; her unorthodox living arrangements included her husband taking care of their children (who eventually numbered 13) while Lilly earned money painting accessible, sentimental subjects. "Power of Fashion," portraying a young black boy in tattered clothes and an elaborate turban smoking a cigar while sitting next to a dog in an alley, was one of her most popular works, along with the similar "Height of Fashion," which depicted a young black girl playing dress-up while holding a puppy. Engraved by Jean-Baptiste LaFosse (who has signed the plate in the lower left corner), it was sold by William Schaus, the New York agent of the European fine-art publisher Goupil.
Contemporary gilt frame with expert restoration.