Fruit with Water Glass
Elaborate still lifes like this one trace their lineage to seventeenth-century Europe, particularly Dutch Old Masters, whose paintings of nature’s bounty signified wealth but also hinted at the ephemeral nature of these possessions and life itself.
Severin Roesen, trained as a painter in what is now Germany and familiar with this still-life tradition, became one of the best known and most prolific American practitioners of the genre. Here, he depicts a bowl overflowing with apples, plums, and grapes of all hues. Yet the yellowing edge of one grape leaf and an insect-eaten hole in another remind us of the inevitability of death.