Bonhams European Paintings Auction Features De Nittis, De Blaas, and Munier

. October 3, 2009

European paintings collectors will be offered several exceptional collecting opportunities at the October 21 auction at Bonhams New York. Comprised of nearly 200 lots, the sale consists of a wide variety of paintings from various schools including Italian, Spanish, French, Dutch, Austrian, German, and Orientalist.

de NittisHighlighting the sale is a work by Giuseppe de Nittis (Italian, 1846-1884). Estimated at $200/300,000, the painting depicts a couple riding along Paris’ Avenue des Champs-Elysées on horseback, its composition dominated by scaffolding surrounding the Arc de Triomphe, which is depicted under repair after damages sustained in the Franco-Prussian War.

Two works by Eugen von Blaas (Austrian, 1843-1931) are certain to attract serious bidding. Von Blaas was particularly fond of Venice finding that it remained unaffected by the fast-paced changes brought about by the Industrial Revolution. The time capsule which was Venice allowed von Blaas to paint what he perceived as the idyllic life of his subjects. Best known and most loved for his images of Venetian washerwomen, seamstresses and street vendors, his women are often striking in their youthful, unadorned beauty as they go about their daily routines.

Von Blaas’, The Love Letter (1897) displays all of the elements for which the artist is renowned. The painting shows two lovely young women chattering beside an open door, one having received a missive from her young man. The attention to detail in both the costumes of the young women as well as the architecture that surrounds them is extraordinary, as is the ability of the artist to capture the happiness of the blush of first love. Estimated at $200/300,000, the piece exemplifies what makes Eugen von Blaas one of the most sought-after artists of this genre.

Certainly not to be overlooked is another von Blaas painting titled Lovelorn. Painted in 1911, it is yet another prime example of the artist’s work and carries an estimate of $150/250,000.

Also of great interest is a piece by Daniel Ridgway Knight (American, 1839-1924). Ridgway Knight was born in Philadelphia to Quaker parents and at the age of 19 entered the prestigious Pennsylvania Academy of Arts. Inspired by Crépon’s descriptions of Paris, he left for France in 1861 where he enrolled in the Ecole des Beaux-Arts as well as in the studio of Charles-Gabriel Gleyre. He returned to America only once, in 1864, to fight in the Civil War and returned to France in 1871 where he remained for the rest of his life.

Ridgway Knight turned to the peasants of Normandy for inspiration for his art. His subjects are often depicted as absorbed in isolated contemplation, usually in the course of some mundane task. Trimming her Sunday Hat follows the artist’s preferred theme. The work depicts a young girl seated outside a picturesque cottage, concentrating on weaving flowers into her hat and is estimated at $100/150,000.

A charming Emile Munier (French, 1840-1895) painting is sure to inspire competitive bidding as well. Munier began his artistic studies at the Manufacture nationale des Gobelins. During his tenure, Munier espoused the ideals of Academic painting championed by William Bouguereau and eventually entered the studio of the great master.

Munier’s two children were the artist’s primary source of inspiration beginning in the early 1880s and appear frequently in his work, as in the present painting. A young boy in country costume gazes directly at the viewer, holding a mass of red berries in his delicately-rendered hands. Estimated at $70/100,000, the painting demonstrates the artist’s fine draughtsmanship and points directly to Bouguereau’s influence and the strength of the Academic tradition in the last quarter of the 19th Century in France.

Other notable lots to be offered are a painting by Dutch artist Jan Zoetelief Tromp depicting children playing along the seashore (est. $70/90,000); a busy market scene by Spanish artist José Echena (est. $60/80,000); and The Return of the Fishing Boat (est. $30/50,000) by Dutch artist, Philippe Lodewijk Sadée.

The sale will be on view at Bonhams’ San Francisco galleries October 9-10, then at the New York galleries from October 17th until the auction date of October 21st at 1PM EST during which it will be simulcast at the San Francisco galleries as well. The illustrated auction catalog for the sale will be online at www.bonhams.com/us in the weeks preceding the preview and auction. For more information about the department, please visit www.bonhams.com/newyork.

Category: Auction News

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