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    Description

    The Hon. Paul H. Buchanan, Jr. Collection

    SEVERIN ROESEN (German/American, 1805-1882)

    Still Life with Fruit and Bird's Nest
    Oil on canvas
    28-1/2 x 35-1/2 inches (72.4 x 90.2 cm)
    Signed lower right in red: S. Roesen

    PROVENANCE:
    Vose Galleries, Boston, Massachusetts;
    Reginald A. Lombard (restaurant owner of "Lakeview Hotel" and later an art dealer, Lake View Gallery, Lake View, New York);
    Purchased from Vose Galleries, Boston, Massachusetts, October 10, 1984.

    LITERATURE:
    Reginald A. Lombard Collection of Nineteenth Century Paintings, Vose Galleries, Boston, Massachusetts, 1984, ill. p. 15;
    J. H. O'Toole, Severin Roesen, catalogue raisonné, London and Toronto, 1992, p. 192: "Still Life with Fruit, oil on canvas, 28 x 35 inches, Signed l-r S. Roesen, Lake View Gallery, Lake View, New York."

    Paul Buchanan's painting by Severin Roesen can be identified as the "Still Life with Fruit" listed in Judith O'Toole's catalogue raisonné as belonging to Lake View Gallery in New York State. The Buchanan painting corresponds in every way with the Lake View picture: size, signature (in italic script), and the identification of the motifs contained within it: single black ledge, basket/mixed fruit, compote/strawberries, halved lemon, sliced watermelon, bird's nest, and wine glass. Indeed, Paul Buchanan purchased this impressive example of Roesen's work from Vose Gallery, Boston in 1984 when the firm handled the sale of the Lake View Gallery collection - totaling some 50 examples of nineteenth-century American oil painting that had been assembled by restauranteur Reginald A. Lombard. According to the Vose catalogue of the Lombard sale, "Reg [Lombard] first came to see us in Boston just after building a spacious waiting room for the over-flow of customers at his famous restaurant, called the "Lakeview Hotel," in Lake View, New York, some 25 miles southwest of Buffalo. People drove as much as 75 miles to eat there, so an adequate waiting room was essential. The new room looked barren, and Reg decided it needed a few paintings. As his collection grew, he became so enthused that he turned the restaurant over to his able son Hollis and devoted full time to becoming a dealer in paintings."

    The complex and lavish still lifes of fruit and flowers by the German-born painter Severin Roesen established the tradition for this genre of painting in nineteenth-century America. Deriving ultimately from seventeenth-century Dutch and Flemish prototypes, Roesen's fruit pieces often feature prominent wine and water goblets half full of liquid, compotes, knives and other serving vessels and utensils, and bird's nests. During his lifetime, the artist's brightly-colored and crisply-drawn cornucopias became a standard for dining-room decoration. Indeed, the Judge displayed his Roesen still life proudly over his dining-room sideboard in Indianapolis for more than 20 years.

    The prolific Roesen was probably trained in Düsseldorf. He is known to have exhibited a work in Cologne in 1847 before emigrating to America the following year. He worked and exhibited in New York until 1852 when he moved to Pennsylvania, settling permanently in Williamsport, a booming lumber town. There he found a strong network of patrons among the prosperous merchants and lumberman of German descent, who purchased his pictures of nature's abundance to adorn their newly built homes, taverns, restaurants, and hotels. A hotelier and brewer named Jacob Flock owned more than fifty painting by Roesen, which were presumably traded for lodging and beer, the artist's favorite beverage. One wonders whether the Buchanan picture, which restauranteur Reginald Lombard hung on the walls of his popular establishment during the 20th century, had been one of Flock's pictures a century earlier.

    Roesen's works are in the permanent holdings of many major museum collections of American art including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Delaware Art Museum, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, the Currier Museum of Art, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, and the White House in Washington, D.C.



    Condition Report*: Relined. Paint surface fully intact. Newer acrylic varnish. Under UV examination, only a few minor areas of restoration are visible in the background.
    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

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    Auction Dates
    June, 2009
    10th-11th Wednesday-Thursday
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