Villa by the Sea is among Böcklin’s best-known works. He painted five versions of the subject, the first two commissioned by Schack. In this version, the first, the artist experimented with materials and techniques, covering the surface with wax to give the colours a subtle glow. Yet the work was severely damaged by the time it reached Schack in Munich, so the collector requested a replica in the more conventional medium of oil painting. Böcklin finished that second version the following year.