Severin Roesen (aka Severin Rösen, S. Rosen)
American, born Germany,
about 1815–about 1872
Still Life with Mixed Flowers and Bird's Nest
North America, American, New York
34 1/4 in. x 30 1/4 in. (87 cm x 76.84 cm)
Medium and Support:
Oil on canvas
Gift of the Ida Belle Young Art Acquisition Fund
Currently On View
© Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts
"Still Life with Mixed Flowers and Bird’s Nest" was most likely painted during the first decade of Roesen’s career when he resided in New York City. Although the painting is neither signed, nor dated, the composition is consistent with many other works that were documented in that decade, and indeed the composition is one he repeated (with slight variations) a number of times. The MMFA’s work is typical in Roesen’s use of the reverse “s” curve composition, beginning at the top with the ruffled pink poppy, extending through the wave of tulips, daisies, dahlia, rose and morning glories, and ending with the bird’s nest at the bottom. The artist models the forms, and suggests the recession into space by making the edges of the peripheral flowers less distinct and placing them in shadow.
The painting is typical of Roesen’s approach, with its highly detailed and realistic rendering of the blooms, the heightened color palette, and the shading of the background from the darker area on the proper right to the lighter tone on the left side. Many of the elements in this composition are also frequently repeated in others, including the bird’s nest with three eggs, the bright blue iris on the proper left side of the bouquet, and the stem of pink roses that appears to fall from the container and rests at the edge of the marble ledge.