American (1815-1872)
Still Life of Fruit with Goblet of Flowers
oil on canvas, signed lower right "Roesen," inscribed on the reverse "Purchased by Geo. W. Jones April 11th 1878 / of John W. Quincy / who bought it of / the Artist"
25 x 35 inches

Provenance: The artist; John W. Quincy; George W. Jones 1878; Ambassador and Mrs. Joseph Verner Reed; The estate of Ambassador Reed; Private Collection, New York, New York; Driscoll Babcock, New York, New York; Private Collection, New York.

Other Notes:
Severin Roesen was the finest and best-known still life painter in America during the mid nineteenth century. His works are highly esteemed for their botanical accuracy and variety of species, and scholars have described his work as "highly finished, brilliantly colored, and at times extravagantly elaborate, [executed with] meticulous draftsmanship and technical virtuosity."[1]
Roesen came to New York in 1848 from Germany, selling and exhibiting his paintings through the American Art Union until about 1860. Roesen ultimately settled in Williamsport, Pennsylvania until his death around 1872. Roesen's still lifes show fruit and flowers in abundance, each in their peak beauty, which many scholars believe alludes to the growth and prosperity of the population and society at the time.[2] Whereas previous, traditional still lifes were of the vanity genre, portraying fruit and beautiful flowers with some allusion to their already expiring lifetime, reminding us that everything good will eventually end, with Roesen's this theme is refreshingly, nowhere to be found. An abundance of fruit piled from the marble table, to a stand, even the tendrils of the fruit (one of which making the artist's signature, continue above in cloudlike, somewhat floral structures. Their curves dance freely in the air giving an optimistic feel to the scene. Still life paintings by Roesen are in the collections of Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Rose Hill Mansion in Geneva, NY; Westmoreland Museum of American Art; The Metropolitan Museum of Art; The Amon Carter Museum; University of Vermont; National Museum of American Art; St. Louis Art Museum; The Shelburne Museum; The White House; the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art; Munson Williams Procter Institute; the United States Department of State and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.


He started his career as Private Secretary to the President of the World Bank, Eugene 11 Gene II Robert Black, Sr. (1898-1992). He then served as Vice President and Assistant to the Chairman of the Chase Manhattan Bank, David Rockefeller, from 1963 to 1981. In 1985, he became United States Deputy Permanent Representative to the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. Two years later, in 1987, he became Under-Secretary General of the United Nations for Political and General Assembly Affairs. He was appointed by President Ronald Reagan to serve as United States Ambassador to Morocco from 1981 to 1985. He was then appointed by President George H.W. Bush to serve as the Chief of Protocol of the United States from 1989 to 1991. He returned to the UN, serving as Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Special Representative for Public Affairs from 1992 to 1997. From 1997 to 2004, he served as President of the Staff Management Coordination Committee of the UN. In January 2005, he was appointed as Under-Secretary-General and Special Adviser. He was re-appointed as such in 2009. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He is the recipient of the Legion of Honour. He also received The Yale Medal from his alma mater, Yale University.

1 Natalie Spassky, American Paintings in,the Metropolitan Museum. vol 2, New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1985, p.1082

2 The Metropolitan Museum of Art Collection, Severin Roesen, Still Life: Fruit, 1855, https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/11939

Essay courtesy of Driscoll Babcock Galleries.

tags: still-life, 19th century, oil painting

  • Condition: Canvas: Lined
    Condition: Very Good
    Restoration: Very Minor
    Frame: Period
    Scattered very minor inpaint mostly to upper right edges

    Framed dimensions - 39 x 43 3/4 x 3 1/2 inches

    In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Shannon's is merely a subjective qualified opinion. Frames on all paintings are sold "As Is". Frames may need some conservation.


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