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Inspiration comes from many places. Several years ago and before the economic downturn, I received an invitation to attend a benefit for the Metropolitan Museum of Art at the Ritz Carlton in New York City. I was so impressed with the painting depicted on the cover and I thought how well it portrayed the excessiveness of our world. I put the card away and discovered it last year while cleaning my shelves.

I was curious about the artist, the style, the subject matter and the challenge to create something on such a grand scale. So in order to become more familiar with the painting and to try to answer some of my questions I decided to copy the painting and use watercolor instead of oil.

This copy gave me an insight into the composition, design, color harmonies and style of the artist, Severin Roesen, a German painter who worked in Williamsport PA in the mid 1800’s. His work was widely held in the area but his work generally was undiscovered until Jacqueline Kennedy selected one of his works for the newly decorated White House in 1961. The Metropolitan Museum of Art now owns several of his paintings as do other famous museums and fine art collectors.

While doing the copy I was inspired to create my own “Abundant” work using the same composition but with my own personal objects and fruits in season. It was such an ambitious project that I decided to divide the work into quadrants and complete each quadrant study in watercolor before I attempted the large oil. After each quadrant was painted I used them as studies for the 6 X 4 foot oil on canvas.

After I completed the work I did further study on Roesen and I saw a picture of the original work and discovered that the card I received and worked from was printed in reverse.

I made some changes, corrected some of the problems I saw in the original and turned the work into my original painting “Abundance”. To me it depicts the style, subject matter and extravagance of the past. I hope this work is a genuine tribute to an artist who worked for his dinner and beer and whose death was never recorded. I honor his talent and his love of beauty.