Two rare paintings by Severin Roesen are now on display “A great addition to the Rowley House Museum” said curator Bob Kane at a recent unveiling of the artworks.
The two “relatively unknown” The paintings were part of the private collection of a state college couple, Kane said, before Clinton County benefactor Bobby Maguire bought the paintings at an auction in Downington and decided to see them in the museum.
“I was born on a farm in Clearfield County with six siblings,” Said Maguire. “We have learned to share and to give.”
When Maguire, who found out about Roesen through the fame the late Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis brought to the artist, acquired the paintings, he decided to do it “should take the lessons learned” from his parents and childhood and “Split.”
Maguire said he was grateful to have had a successful career and to have the funds to support the Rowley House Museum on the corner of West Fourth Street and Walnut Street, noting that the gas industry earnings gave him the opportunity offered to buy the Roesen paintings.
Roesen, a German-born artist who moved to Williamsport in 1858 and a “Bohemian style loft”, was known for his still lifes of flowers and fruit, Kane said. He is the first known artist to imitate the German still life style of the 17th century. During his life his art was on display at the Herdic Hotel in Williamsport and a century later at the White House at the request of Jackie Kennedy. His paintings have also been exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Modern Museum of Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art.
Roesen was known for using flies and egg nests in his artwork, a nod to their symbolism. He is “should have been at the peak of his performance at Williamsport” said Kane.
The two new additions to the Rowley House Museum are painted on wood with no indication that they have ever been or need to be repaired. Both still bear Williamsport labels from the 1860s. One of the paintings of peaches is notable because Roesen’s paintings generally depict larger varieties of fruit and because the table on which the peaches are seated has a tablecloth – also unusual in Roesen’s paintings.
Kane said the museum intends to continue researching the history of the paintings.
Kane also thanked the leadership of Preservation Williamsport, to which he credited the museum’s achievements in recent years.
“We are blessed to have a breadth of knowledge on our board,” said Kane.
Williamsport Conservation plans its annual “Boo from the Porch” Benefit Event for October 21st. Kane said this year’s event will be slightly different as it will focus on the Park Place building at Fourth and Campbell Streets. Each half of the porch will be decorated and feature a variety of Halloween-themed food and drink, games, events and drawings, and an auction.