Severin Roesen is an American artist born in Germany. According to Wikimedia, he was born in 1815 and died in 1872. He came to the U.S. in 1848 and moved to Williamsport Pennsylvania in 1860 where he painted Still Life with a Basket of Fruit.
Rosen's art perfectly reflected the young country's optimism and growing wealth. Roesen is considered one of America's grestest still-life painters. His crisply detailed, brilliantly colored compositions represent some of the most complex and elaborate paintings in this genre ever produced.
Roesen used tiny brush strokes to make his art so detailed. He had an eye for detail. It seemed as if the colors in his art weren't always true to the actual object. The colors being off from the actual fruit could represent a rare form of the fruit. Rare can also represent wealth.
The art he did I would think were typically found in a wealthy person's house. Instead, according to Wikipedia, he traded his work with Jacob Flock for lodging and beer. Roesen liked beer. In fact, you would find a faint outline of a beer glass in the corner of his paintings. When a customer objected, he would remove it.
He most often did his still life using fruit. He would restock and rearrange the fruit for new ideas. he would create a garden of fruit. The archetype of a garden is cultivated and carefully planned. I can really see those qualitites in his work. He puts the fruit in those places for a reason. He carefully plans how to place the fruit for the best turnout.
It appears the fruit is very fresh because you can see water droplets on the fruit. To me, that represents wealth because anyone who was not as wealthy would reuse the same fruit for long periods of time. One watermelon is eaten and one is whole. I feel like that is a representation of something larger. Maybe his life is missing something like the eaten watermelon. Maybe he wants to feel whole like the full watermelon. I have mixed feelings on that.
The top of the painting gives off a glittery appearance. To me, that is a huge representation of wealth again. What else sparkles like glitter? Diamonds. Diamonds are more for the wealthy. Could he have been aiming his work towards the wealthy just to earn more money? Or could it be to make him feel wealthy?
For a guy that was normally drunk while doing his art, he really created some masterpieces.