European Art: Paintings & Sculpture

European Art: Paintings & Sculpture

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 115. EUGEN VON BLAAS | GOD'S CREATURES.

Property of a Gentleman


Lot Closed

June 18, 02:49 PM GMT


80,000 - 120,000 GBP

Lot Details


Property of a Gentleman



1843 - 1931


signed and dated Eug de Blaas / 1913. lower right

oil on canvas

unframed: 100 by 76cm., 39½ by 30in.

framed: 124 by 99cm., 49 by 39in.

Please note: Condition 11 of the Conditions of Business for Buyers (Online Only) is not applicable to this lot.

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Sale: Sotheby's, New York, 29 October 1987, lot 326

Private collection, New York (purchased at the above sale; sale: Sotheby's, New York, 18 April 2007, lot 98)

Purchased at the above sale by the present owner

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

At a young age, Eugen 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. Eugen studied art at the Academy in Venice and frequently travelled to Vienna to work with his father on the frescoes. Upon moving to London in pursuit of additional artistic training, Eugen met Paola Prina, and the two fell in love and were married in Venice in 1870. Prina was from an aristocratic background and the couple quickly settled into a comfortable life. Eugen 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. 

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 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.