Oil on canvas, 20 x 30 inches / Inscribed, copyrighted and dated lower right
Roseland was born in Brooklyn, New York and although largely self-taught he did study with New York artists Carroll Beckwith and J.B. Whittaker. He was to become one of America’s finest genre painters of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Roseland, unlike many of his peers, never traveled abroad to study art at the Munich Royal Academy or the ateliers of Paris. Early in his career he painted landscapes and still lifes; however, Roseland was interested in paintings that told a story. He is well-known for depictions of common laborers picking cotton or berries in the fields of the New York and New England areas. In post-Civil War America, his paintings focused on former slaves, many of whom were residing in New York City at the time. He portrayed in their everyday, sometimes humorous, activities. Some of his better known paintings, of a more serious note, portray a black fortune teller reading palms, cards (cartomancy), tea leaves, water (scrying). It is interesting to note that although Roseland never visited the South, his paintings were viewed as authentic studies of Southern blacks. He had found his niche and there was no need to travel beyond his Brooklyn neighborhood. His intimate renderings of the subjects and their setting emphasized the racial harmony he sought to convey. Roseland was a member of the Brooklyn Art Club, Brooklyn Society of Artists, Brooklyn Painters Society, Society of Independent Artists, Salons of America and Salmundi Club. He exhibited at the Brooklyn Art Association (1884-1886; 1891); Brooklyn Art Club, (1888, gold medal); National Academy of Design (1884-1900; 1898, second Hallgarten prize); Gill’s Art Galleries annual, Springfield, Massachusetts (1897); Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA (1888-1906); Union League Club, Brooklyn, NY (1891); American Art Society, Philadelphia, PA,(1902, silver medal; 1907, gold); Salmagundi Club, New York, NY (1902, bronze medal); South Carolina Inter-State and West Indian Exposition, Charleston, SC (1902, bronze medal); Boston Art Club, Massachusetts (1905-1908); Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. (1907); Clark Galleries, New York, NY (1910); Brooklyn Society of Artists, New York, NY (1917); Society of Independent Artists, New York, NY (1917-1918; 1932); Brooklyn Society of Artists (1930, prize); Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts annual, Philadelphia, PA (1932).