Elisina Tyler to Robert Woods Bliss, July 29, 1927
July 29th 1927Friday.
It was good of you to send me the interview with Mme. Arthur de Vogué,The comtesse Arthur de Vogüé, who lived at the Château de Commarin near Dijon. See letter of May 19, 1927. from the New York Times.“Thinks Painting Copy of a Titian; Countess de Vogue Says Family Received Less than $1,000 for d’Este Portrait; Placed Little Value On It; Metropolitan Museum is Satisfied Portrait for which it Paid $125,000 is Genuine,” New York Times, June 9, 1927. It was plain that she said as little as possible, taking care to make that little consistent with truth.
We lunched at CommarinChâteau de Commarin, Cote d’Or, Burgundy. yesterday, and I had a good talk with Diane de Vogué,Diane, comtesse Charles de Vogüé, daughter-in-law of Arthur de Vogüé, who lived at the Château de Commarin near Dijon. who sold the picture.Portrait of Alfonso d’Este, Duke of Ferrara, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 27.26. The Metropolitan Museum of Art acquired this painting in 1927 for $125,000; until 1925, it had been in the collection of the Comtesse Charles de Vogüé. It is identified today as a copy after Titian. See Bryson Burroughs, “The Portrait of Alfonso d’Este by Titian,” The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 22, no. 4 (April 1927), 97–101. She was perfectly positive that there was no sign of a cannon on the painting when it was at Commarin; and my own recollections tallied with this.
The hands were differently disposed, & the rich coat was not in existence at all; there was a gold chain round the neck of the figure, but no jewel. The gold chain has disappeared. The face was darker, less florid, & the beard sparse and more pointed. The whole figure is much more “luscious” than the picture at Commarin used to be. My private opinion (founded of course only on a photograph of the picture now at the Metropolitan) is that mere cleaning cannot possibly account for the changes between the picture I remember and the other. I have been over Commarin at least 20 times in the past 12 years,—and my own memory of the picture fits in exactly with the late owner. I hope very much that a good lesson will be given to the dealers who have surprised the good faith of the American buyer.
I hope the operations for tonsils went off perfectly, dear Robert. I hope your little dicky-birdSee letter of May 4, 1927. will bring you the best possible luck. I am so happy that you thought him worthy to accompany you.
Please tell dear Mildred that she will soon have a letter from me at Buenos Aires.
Royall is in Greece,See letter of July 17, 1927. very hot, but finding it all very interesting. Bill is here; we haven’t heard results of his certificate examination, but he has won his school scarf for target shooting at 2000 yards at Bisley,Bisley, a village in Surrey, England, known for rifle shooting since 1890, when the village became the location for the United Kingdom’s National Rifle Association Championships. and carried three shooting cups off for his house at Harrow.
My very best remembrances and love to you both,