Philadelphia Museum of Art Custom Prints



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About the Artwork

Outdoor markets were one of the rare places in Philadelphia during the early 1800s where people of all ages, professions, social classes, and races would interact. For an artist, they provided a lens to study these exchanges. In this painting, the circle of people around the soup vendor includes a tall man from the country, an older woman, a former soldier, a kneeling woman feeding a young boy, and two girls with a basket of flowers. There are some elements of harmony between them, like in the shared gesture of raising a spoon or tilting their heads. But there are also signs of discomfort: the two girls, dressed in the fancy clothes of wealthy city families, look at the old soldier, perhaps with pity or condescension. Their bright footwear stands out in contrast with the bare feet of the street vendor, alone in the center of the group.

John Lewis Krimmel was born in Germany and had only arrived in Philadelphia a year before painting Pepper-Pot. His observation of street life in his adopted city appealed to his contemporary museum audiences. He provided an immigrant’s perspective on society in a country just beginning to establish its national identity.

One aspect of life in the United States that was different from Germany was the presence of the large Free Black community. Many of the jobs that were open to Black people depended on white attitudes about what was appropriate. For entrepreneurial Black women without professional training, cooking and selling food was an alternative to domestic labor. Black female street vendors were an important part of Philadelphia’s economy by 1811. Many of them achieved economic self-sufficiency despite discrimination. Pepper-pot soup was a popular dish often sold by Black women on High Street. Over many generations, as people were forcibly transported to Philadelphia through the transatlantic slave trade, they incorporated food traditions of West Africa and the Caribbean into the spicy soup still enjoyed today.

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About Our Prints

Philadelphia Museum of Art Custom Prints offers exclusive custom reproductions of artworks in the collections of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Hand-made in the USA using gallery-quality materials, we create prints as true to the original work as possible, using strict color management protocols and state-of-the-art printing technology.
Many of the works offered through this store are exclusive and not available anywhere else. In addition, new works are continually added to the offering so make sure to come back and see the new releases.
You have found the work that speaks to you. Now what? Using our innovative custom framing tool you can preview exactly what your finished and framed art will look like. We offer many different moulding styles so there is sure to be a match for any type of decor.

Member Discounts

As always, members will receive their discount for all transactions processed through our Custom Prints store. Simply enter your Member ID during the checkout process and your discount will be applied.