Once and Floral

A Close Look at Severin Roesen's Still Life

May 2023

On view around Newell Lake


The magic of still life paintings is that they can show us a new way of looking at the ordinary objects around us. Once they are placed into a specific arrangement and then captured in paint, ink, pastel, or any other medium, the objects take on a whole new meaning. 

Once and Floral, part of the MMFA’s Lake Walk exhibition series, provides a deep dive guided by a new perspective from Montgomerian and floral designer Ward Chesser. The subject of this installation, Severin Roesen’s lavish floral arrangement Still Life with Mixed Flowers and Bird’s Nest (about 1851–1859), features blooms from all seasons–daisies, dahlias, irises, and roses, among others–along with an array of wildlife. Using Chesser’s 40-plus years of experience in botanicals and flower arrangements, he will examine not only the art of flower arranging as a whole but also what each of the buds and blooms may have meant to the artist. 

Right: Severin Roesen (American, born Germany, about 1815-about 1872), Still Life with Mixed Flowers and Bird’s Nest, about 1851-1859, oil on canvas, Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Gift of the Ida Belle Young Art Acquisition Fund, 2012.17

A bouquet of flowers in a vase on a table, in shades of pink, white, blue, and orange.


Organized by the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Montgomery, Alabama.


Annual support for exhibitions is made possible by the following sponsors and grantors. Lead sponsors and grantors Alabama State Council on the Arts, Alabama Power Foundation, The Ford Foundation, Lamar, Medical Properties Trust, Inc., MGMWERX, Poarch Band of Creek Indians, Regions Bank, and Rheem Manufacturing, with additional support from sponsors PowerSouth and Laurie J. Weil, D.V.M. and Dr. Tommy Wool, and co-sponsors AmeriFirst Bank, Balch & Bingham, LLP, Barganier Davis Williams Architects Associated, AIA, Captrust, Mr. and Mrs. Marvin H. Campbell II, Ms. Camille Elebash-Hill, Mr. and Mrs. L. Daniel Morris, Jr., Harmon Dennis Bradshaw, Inc., Dr. and Mrs. Alfred J. Newman, Jr., River Bank & Trust, Russell Construction of Alabama, Inc., Ms. Micki Beth Stiller, Valley Bank, and Warren Averett, LLC.

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