Eugene de Blaas (1843-1932)
His father, Karl (1815 1894), teacher to him and his brother Julius (b.1845) became Professor at the Academy in Vienna and Venice, then part of the Austro Hungarian Empire.
It was in Venice that Eugene de Blaas established himself as the leading painter of Venetian genre. Venice had been an essential stop on the Grand Tour since the early eighteenth century, past visitors had returned home with views and portraits, the late nineteenth century visitor wanted more.
The affluent Venetian visitor wanted human interest, a sense of life by the canals and campos of the city, as a result of which a school of artists developed to supply this market. Native Italian artists like Antonio Paoletti and Antonio Rotta, Luke Fildes and William Logsdail from England, but above all Eugene de Blaas, depicted the life of Venetian fisherfolk, gondoliers and Venetian beauties. The titles of his paintings; “The Love Letter”, “Stolen Kiss”, “The Suitor”, with his highly polished technique, the depiction of embroidered lace, auburn hair and a coquettish glance, ensured that his paintings were of universal appeal.
Between 1875 and 1891 de Blaas exhibited twelve works at the Royal Academy, London. By 1885 the art dealer Arthur Tooth & Son in London represented him before moving to his rival T. Maclean from 1886, also in London, an indication of the artist’s popularity in Britain.