Like Dutch and German still lifes of the 18th century, Roesen’s paintings are compilations of fruit or flowers that generally mature in different seasons. Thus while he may have studied these elements from life earlier on, much of his work likely relied on botanical prints and his impressive memory stores, as he had a penchant for frequently including certain charming motifs across numerous canvases, including a bird’s nest with three perfectly formed eggs, always lit from the left, as seen in Tabletop Floral with Landscape.
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Another familiar design element was the presence of smaller still lifes within the larger arrangement, here evidenced by the pink cabbage roses and morning glories around the nest and a similar cluster of fallen blooms at right. Charming on their own, these satellite groupings are purposefully placed to direct the viewer’s eyes up and around to the larger bouquet through the gentle curving lines of the stems. What makes Tabletop Floral with Landscape a unique example in Roesen’s oeuvre is the combination of floral and landscape elements. Judith O’Toole, author of the major 1992 monograph Severin Roesen, posits that after moving to Williamsport, Roesen would sometimes include a bit of natural scenery as a backdrop to his fruit compositions perhaps because he was inspired by the bucolic Pennsylvania countryside. The vista was usually just a glimpse, softly rendered so as not to detract from the elaborate still life. Dr. O’Toole notes that Tabletop Floral with Landscape “is one of the few flower subjects to have a landscape background; and in this case, the view is almost entirely blocked by the massive display. This is also one of the only square canvases painted by the artist and as such is a pleasing format.”
 Judith Hansen O’Toole, Severin Roesen (Cranbury, NJ: Assoc. Univ. Presses, 1992), p. 44
Private collection, Locust Valley, New York
With Vose Galleries, Boston, inventory no. 27878, December 1984
To private collection, Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, September 1985 to present
Previous Vose Galleries label, inventory no. 27878
O’Toole, Judith Hansen. Severin Roesen (Cranbury, NJ: Associated University Presses, Inc., 1992), illus. color plate 21