Severin Roesen (1816–c. 1872)
Still Life with Fruit and a Bird’s Nest, c. 1871
Oil on canvas, 30 x 40 in.
Provenance: private collection, Martha’s Vineyard
Related work: Still Life with a Basket of Fruit, 1871, oil on canvas, 30 1/4 x 40 1/4 in. (The Saint Louis Art Museum).
Still Life with Fruit and a Bird’s Nest depicts a tremendous quantity of fresh fruit displayed in and around a large wicker basket. Peaches and grapes overflow from the basket onto the marble tabletop below, where they join sliced and whole watermelons, plums, cherries, strawberries, apples, and Roesen’s signature bird’s nest. Broad grape leaves fan out across the composition, and tendrils curl around the grape vines and spiral into the air. Robustness and warmth characterize this monumental symbolic representation of the young nation’s abundance.