Flower Still Life with Bird's Nest

Severin Roesen, American (born Germany), 1816 - c. 1872

Made in New York, New York, United States, North and Central America


Oil on canvas

40 x 32 inches (101.6 x 81.3 cm) Framed: 51 × 43 1/2 inches (129.5 × 110.5 cm)

Curatorial Department:
American Art

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Purchased with support from the Henry P. McIlhenny Fund in memory of Frances P. McIlhenny, Mr. and Mrs. Robert L. McNeil, Jr., the Edith H. Bell Fund, Mrs. J. Maxwell Moran, Marguerite and Gerry Lenfest, the Center for American Art Fund, Donna C. and Morris W. Stroud II, Dr. and Mrs. Robert E. Booth, Jr., Frederick LaValley and John Whitenight, Mr. and Mrs. John A. Nyheim, Charlene Sussel, Penelope P. Wilson, the American Art Committee, and with the gift (by exchange) of Theodore Wiedemann in memory of his wife, Letha M. Wiedemann, 2010

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Severin Roesen's lavish tabletop array is crowded with blooms from all seasons--topped by a crown imperial and including lilacs, poppies, daylilies, tulips, irises, roses, morning glories, and nasturtiums, among others--and reflects the mid-nineteenth-century American taste for scenes of natural bounty. Strong, dense flower forms at the brightly lit center balance with more sinuous, silhouetted stems that reach outward to the edges of the composition.

Roesen simultaneously elevated still life painting in America and charted a new direction for its practice. He spent much of his career working for local patrons in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, northwest of Philadelphia, but his influence extended across the country.