Fruit with Water Glass

Severin Roesen (American, b. Prussia, ca. 1815–ca. 1872)
ca. 1850–70
MediumOil on canvas
Dimensions30 × 25 inches
CreditGift of Shelley and Felice Bergman, 2021
Accession Number2021.14.2

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.

Exhibition History