Severin Roesen’s bountiful still life celebrates and reinforces the popular 19th-century notion that America’s natural resources distinguished the nation from the rest of the world. In majestic proportions and a vivid palette, an abundant variety of fruit sits atop a two-tiered marble shelf. The dense forest at left and the mountain landscape at right suggest the diversity and power of the American landscape. Painted around the time of the Civil War, the canvas’s dramatic and somewhat threatening sky may suggest the question of whether or not America’s unique democracy would prevail. Roesen fled his revolution-torn German homeland in 1848. By the early 1860s, he settled in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, where this painting adorned the dining room of the Lycoming Hotel.


  • Title: Two-Tiered Still Life with Fruit and Sunset Landscape
  • Creator: Severin Roesen
  • Date Created: ca. 1867
  • Physical Dimensions: w1276.35 x h920.75 in (Unframed)
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: Purchase: acquired through the bequest of Dorothy K. Rice, Purchase: acquired through the bequest of Dorothy K. Rice
  • Medium: Oil on canvas
  • Culture: American

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