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The Cover
August 26, 1998

Still Life With Fruit

JAMA. 1998;280(8):679. doi:10.1001/jama.280.8.679

Few, if any, knew who he was, where he came from, or where he disappeared to. Like an August meteor he appeared on the American scene in the mid-19th century, blazed a trail across the skies that was brilliant at times, and then before the century was even three quarters over, disappeared into the darkness. Much of what we do know about his origins and his life is legend and hearsay, colored by teller and time. Whether he himself contributed to the legend is not known, although nothing suggests that he objected. But to him it was not his life but the pictures that mattered. Perhaps he was bragging, perhaps he was prophetic when (according to the legend) he told a young woman, "Miss, my pictures will live long after me." If bragging, it was justified; if prophecy, it was accurate. Severin Roesen (c 1814/1815–c 1872) is gone. The pictures remain, in the dining rooms and in the museums from the eastern seaboard to the state of Oregon. They are still being found.

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