98
98
Eugen von Blaas
AUSTRIAN
GOD'S CREATURES
Estimate
80,000120,000
LOT SOLD. 216,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT
98
Eugen von Blaas
AUSTRIAN
GOD'S CREATURES
Estimate
80,000120,000
LOT SOLD. 216,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

19th Century European Art

|
New York

Eugen von Blaas
1843-1931
AUSTRIAN
GOD'S CREATURES
signed Eug de Blaas and dated 1913. (lower right)
oil on canvas
39 1/2 by 30 in.
100.3 by 76.2 cm
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Provenance

Sale: Sotheby's, New York, October 29, 1987, lot 326, illustrated
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner

Literature

Thomas Wassibauer, Eugen von Blass, 1843-1931, Georg Holms AG, 2005, no. 173, p. 139, illustrated in color p. 92

Catalogue Note

At a young age, Austrian painter Eugèn von Blaas’s interest in art was strongly encouraged by his father, Carl von Blaas, a well-known artist in his own right and creator of the frescoes in the Arsenal in Vienna.  Eugèn studied art at the Academy in Venice and frequently traveled to Vienna to work with his father on the frescoes.  Upon moving to London in pursuit of additional artist training, Eugèn met Paola Prina, and the two fell in love and were married in Venice in 1870.  Prina was from an aristocratic background and couple quickly settled into a comfortable life, filled with frequent social engagements and hunting trips for Eugèn.  Eugèn continued to paint and achieved commercial success through his detailed portraits of beautiful Venetian girls. The couple eventually had two children and, despite a brief period in Rome, spent the rest of their lives in Venice, where Eugèn passed away in 1932.

 

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.  

19th Century European Art

|
New York