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    Description

    SEVERIN ROESEN (German/American, 1805-1882)
    Fruit Still Life with Moth, circa 1860-1872
    Oil on board
    13-3/4 x 18 inches (34.9 x 45.7 cm)

    PROVENANCE:
    Private Southern collection;
    Private collection, Pennsylvania;
    Private collection, New York.

    A letter of authentication from Judith Hansen O'Toole dated 2008 accompanies this lot.

    Acclaimed for his "botanical accuracy, brilliant coloration, and technical virtuosity,"1 the still-life painter Severin Roesen emigrated from Germany in 1848 and practiced his craft in New York before settling permanently in the largely Germanic community of Williamsport, Pennsylvania, where he enjoyed steady patronage. Fruit Still Life with Moth, with its refined brushwork and elegantly balanced composition derived from European still-life traditions, characterizes the artist's best work from his later career. Roesen expert Judith O'Toole elaborates on the painting's symbolism: "The leaves and branch still attached to a ripe peach point to a colorful moth in the upper left-hand corner which seems about to alight. Insects and small birds are sometimes depicted in Roesen's work as traditional symbols of memento mori. In this case the moth is not hidden within the main still life, as is often Roesen's mode, but set aside in a delightful manner both bringing balance and animation to the composition."2

    Roesen paintings are featured in prominent national collections, including those of the Amon Carter Museum, Brooklyn Museum of Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Smithsonian American Art Museum, St. Louis Art Museum, United States Department of State, University of Vermont, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Westmoreland Museum of American Art, and the White House.

    1N. Spassky, American Paintings in the Metropolitan Museum, vol. II.
    2J. H. O'Toole, accompanying letter of authentication.


    Condition Report*: Minor 2" crack intersecting central right edge; diagonal linear abrasions to varnish layer intersecting peach and plum of central right region; mottled masking varnish, as if a surface touched the varnish layer before it was completely dry; scattered in-painting in background of upper quadrants (notably in three linear areas above the still life), in stems of red grapes, and in the two central pears; otherwise very good condition.
    *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.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    November, 2009
    11th-12th Wednesday-Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 2,954

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $14) per lot.

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