Lot 18
  • 18

Eugen von Blaas

250,000 - 350,000 USD
298,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Eugen von Blaas
  • Venetian Lovers
  • signed Eug. de Blaas and dated 1906. (lower right)
  • oil on canvas


Private Collection, Germany, 1910
Thence by descent

Catalogue Note

Growing up in a family of painters, von Blaas followed a course of study intended to encourage his artistic abilities. Trained at the Academy of Venice, where his father was an instructor, von Blaas revealed a ready aptitude for genre painting in his early works. Rather than selecting an excessive amount of props or portraying a complicated narrative, he created a tightly arranged series of compositions.  Venetians are captured with well placed, richly described evocations of their daily,  often domestic occupations, from laundry-day, knitting, or, in the present work, mending clothes.  In conjunction with these genre scenes, von Blaas refined his skills as a portrait painter, and the gentle  narratives of his work are revealed through the subtle and varied expressions of his models.  In the present work, a playfully romantic interlude unfolds as a young man pulls himself up and over a brick wall, leaning in for a kiss, while his paramour’s eyes cast downward toward her mending, her shy smile quietly acknowledging his advances.  The pair of Venetian Lovers is placed against the crumbling masonry of an old brick wall, a favorite pictorial motif of the artist.  As Thomas Wassibaur explains, von Blaas’ "young people live their lives within the old walls of a still-important city, and became links in an apparently endless chain of generations who carry on the Venetian traditions and way of life" (Thomas Wassibaur, Eugen von Blaas 1843-1931, Das Werk Catalogue raisonné, Hildesheim, 2005, p. 19). The artist’s lively and detailed scenes proved incredibly popular with late nineteenth century tourists to Venice, both Europeans and Americans (many of them among the most prominent, wealthy industrialists and entrepreneurs of the era) who found these vibrant compositions the perfect souvenir.