Sale: Sotheby's, New York, October 29, 1987, lot 326, illustrated
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner
God’s Creatures is a compelling portrait of a Catholic nun leaning out from her window, her hands clasped beneath her chin as she gazes wistfully at the flock of birds gliding about the tower. Von Blaas openly embraced the subject of religion throughout his career: Scattered Blossom (1871) depicts two nuns huddled close and whispering in a courtyard and the Nun’s Visit (1883) shows a sister engaged in intimate conversation with a woman and her daughter. In 1887, von Blaas painted an ambitious work entitled The Puppet-Show in the Convent, a multi-figured composition depicting nuns presiding over a group of schoolgirls giggling at the puppet show before them. Von Blaas was a deeply religious man, evidenced by a letter to his father dated November 15, 1867, in which he writes with great emotion and sincere concern that Paola Prina was of another a different religion than he, insinuating he had a difficult decision before him. God’s Creatures can be interpreted as symbolic of many things, however the artist’s personal passion for religion is certainly an important factor behind this impressive work.
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