ca. 1855
oil on canvas
United States
Unframed: 56 1/8 × 40 1/8 in. (142.56 × 101.92 cm)
Framed: 68 × 51 15/16 × 5 1/2 in. (172.72 × 131.92 × 13.97 cm)

A celebration of nature’s bounty, this grand painting illustrates fourteen different types of flowers and fifteen varieties of fruit. Careful inspection also reveals ladybugs, a tiny bird’s nest filled with eggs, and studio windows reflected in a wine glass. The artist cleverly formed his signature in vine tendrils at the lower right corner of the canvas.

Roesen, who immigrated to the United States from Germany in 1848, is considered the leading practitioner of still-life paintings of mid-19th-century America. This work is his largest known canvas. The seemingly objective representation of an abundant display is actually an idealized studio fabrication of fruit and flowers that ripen or bloom in different seasons.

For decades, The Abundance of Nature hung in the dining room at Estouteville in Albemarle County, Virginia. A fitting location for this masterful work, the estate was long renowned for its profuse flower gardens and fruit orchards.

Still Life
signed with tendril device, lower right: "Roesen"
J. Harwood and Louise B. Cochrane Fund for American Art
Look Here: Feast, Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, Virginia, 2007

The New VMFA: Collecting for the Future, VMFA, October 15, 2003 - January 4, 2004
Image released via Creative Commons CC-BY-NC

Some object records are not complete and do not reflect VMFA's full and current knowledge. VMFA makes routine updates as records are reviewed and enhanced.