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Severin Roesen
Still Life with Fruit
1852
oil
34 x 44 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Maria Alice Murphy in memory of her brother Col. Edward J. Murphy, Jr. and museum purchase through the Director's Discretionary Fund



Sumptuous grapes, peaches, berries, watermelon, even a pineapple, spill over from a wicker basket to the marble tabletop. Twisting grapevines and whimsical tendrils visually extend the composition beyond the table. This lavish yet seasonally improbable still life emphasizes America's bounty and mid-century optimism, qualities that appealed to the country's rising middle class, eager for decorative displays to grace their dining rooms.