Severin Roesen

(American born Germany, 1815 - 1871)

Severin Roesen was born in Germany and trained there as a porcelain and enamel painter. He immigrated to the United States and settled in New York in 1848, one of many German artists who fled the political upheavals of their native country. The first nine years in this country he spent in New York, where he exhibited extensively at the American Art-Union between 1848 and 1852. He also exhibited at the Maryland Historical Society in Baltimore and the Hartford Agricultural Union. Roesen settled in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, in 1857. Inspired by seventeenth-century Dutch still-life painting, he celebrated the abundance he saw around him in the lush gardens and orchards of the countryside around Williamsport. His flower pieces are relatively rare, as they are outnumbered almost four to one by his opulent renditions of grapes, peaches, watermelons, cherries, and other fruit. In addition, he painted a few animal still lifes and paintings that represent wild flowers as growing plants rather than cut flowers. He exhibited only twice in public exhibitions—at the second annual exhibition of the Maryland Historical Society in Baltimore (1849) and at the fortieth annual exhibition of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia (1863), where he exhibited a fruit piece. Roesen’s last extant canvas is from 1872. He is not listed in the Williamsport directory of that year and does not reappear anywhere else; apparently he vanished just as mysteriously as he had appeared twenty four years earlier.