John Lewis Krimmel immigrated to the United States only a year before composing this scene of the market stalls of Philadelphia. With its fascinating contrasts of race, social and economic class, age, and character, Pepper-Pot reveals the artist's delight in his new environment and captures Philadelphia's unique charms. This is the first oil painted by one of the earliest American genre painters and it is equally exceptional for its depiction of a freed person of color at work in the city. Placed at the center of this composition, the soup vendor, known through many early nineteenth-century accounts of Philadelphia, would bellow to passersby, "Pepper pot, smoking hot!"
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