Severin Roesen (American, born Germany, ca.1815–ca.1872),
Fruit Still Life with Compote of Strawberries
oil on canvas, 16 x 20 in.; 40.64 x 50.8 cm;
Museum purchase with funds from the Gilbert M. and Martha H. Hitchcock Foundation, 2002.10
Upon his arrival in New York around 1848, Roesen quickly adopted characteristically “American” style elements: classical balance, intense realism, and simplicity of form and composition. These he fused into brilliantly colored and brightly illuminated still lifes in which the painted objects appear almost aggressively physical and present. Roesen habitually reused objects and compositional devices, especially a marble table top on which most of his fruit and flower arrangements are presented. Individual elements as well, such as the fancy milk glass compote, the bruised peach, and the two plums with their distinctive gnawed leaf seen here, are found in several of Roesen’s canvases.