The Love Letter
signed and dated 'Eugenio de Blaas/1902' (lower right)
oil on panel
3114 x 1712 in. (79.5 x 44.5 cm.)
with Galerie Heinemann, Munich, 1902, inv. no. 5866.
Purchased from the above by Ed. M. Burghardt, 1903.
with Galerie Heinemann, Munich, inv. no. 10158.
Purchased from the above by Charles S.A. Platt, New York, 1910.
with MacConnal-Mason & Son Ltd., London.
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Lot Essay

Eugene de Blaas was born into a family of accomplished artists. His father, Karl, was a renowned portrait, history and fresco painter as well as a sculptor, and a professor at the Venice Academy of Fine Art. Eugene's brother, Julius, also an artist, specialized in military scenes and became a professor at the Accademia in Rome. The family had its roots in Austria, but both Eugene and his brother were born in Rome and the family later moved to Venice. Eugene received his early artistic education in Rome and he too became a professor at the Accademia. During his lifetime, his paintings were well-received in Great Britain and he exhibited regularly at the Royal Academy, the Grafton Gallery and the New Gallery between 1875 and 1892.
De Blaas was best known and most loved for his images of Venetian women. His women are striking in their youth and unadorned beauty and they are depicted with a high degree of finish which demonstrates the artist's unique abilities as both draftsman and painter. The realism in the work of de Blaas is almost photographic and it is clearly the artist's intent to show these women going about their daily routines oblivious of their own beauty and that of their surroundings. The artist’s paintings also reflect the tenderness and affinity he felt for the ordinary folk who inspired his work. In the context of such sentiments, Venice was the ideal environment for his work; due to its wealth in architectural and artistic inheritance together with an inability to expand, the city remained relatively unaffected by the fast-paced changes brought about by the Industrial Revolution. This time capsule allowed de Blaas to paint idyllic common folk without being consumed by a sense of melancholic nostalgia.

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