Still Life

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Severin Roesen (American, b. Prussia 1816–ca. 1872)
Still Life, ca. 1852
Oil on canvas
31 1/2 × 43 in. (80.01 × 109.22 cm)
Gift of Anita Vogel Hinrichs in memory of Ferdinand Hinrichs M1988.133
Photo credit: Dedra Walls
Currently on View

Still Life is a meticulously rendered catalogue of exotic and luxury items: lush flowers spill from a basket and frame a rich array of grapes, plums, raspberries, and even a stray pineapple, pomegranate, and flute of champagne. Broken branches and sinuous vines suggest that the fruits had just been harvested and displayed for consumption. At first glance, this cornucopia seems to reinforce the nation's identity as an American Eden, but the majority of these delicacies were imported or cultivated in hothouses, symbols of opulence that likely appealed to Severin Roesen's wealthy collectors. Only the humble watermelon—seemingly half eaten and molting before our eyes—was abundant and inexpensive, a symbol of more democratic tastes.

Publication History
Milwaukee Art Museum. Hidden Treasures: Wisconsin Collects Painting and Sculpture. Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Milwaukee Art Museum, 1987, p. 42, 104. cat. 53, color illus. p. 42.

Vogel, Ann H., ed. Focus: The Flower in Art; Selections from the Permanent Collection. Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Milwaukee Art Museum, 1986, p. 24, cat. 24, b/w illus. p. 6.
Exhibition History
Recent Acquisitions, Milwaukee Art Museum, May 18-September 10, 1989.

Hidden Treasures: Wisconsin Collects Painting and Sculpture, Milwaukee Art Museum, September 11–November 1, 1987.

Focus: The Flower in Art; Selections from the Permanent Collection, Milwaukee Art Museum, July 10-August 17, 1986.


This information is subject to change as the result of ongoing research.