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Mildred Barnes Bliss to Royall Tyler, September 12, 1928 [2]

The American Embassy
Buenos Aires
September 12th, 1928.Wednesday.

Royall, you are a demon! You have completely demoralized us, and we don’t know if we are afoot or on horseback about that rug! Now, you know perfectly well that no bits of wool are worth getting as upset about as you and we are over that Sanguszko carpet, Robert is even worse than I am. It is the only thing which rouses him, and when your note came from London he went right up into the air, and is cabling you. If it affects you, who usually keep your head clear, like this, it must indeed be a surpassingly beautiful object. We have been enormously interested in everything you write about it, and rail at Fate for not having all our catalogues here for purposes of comparison. You were very ‘vorsichtig’“Canny.” to send the little reproductions of the Viennese rugs. That Ispahan must be a marvel,Carpet, silk, 6.39 x 8.23 m, Österreichisches Museum für angewandte Kunst, Vienna, inv. T 8336. but as you say it pales beside Sanguszko, I don’t know what to think. Well, what are we going to do about it? Are you going to have first chance? and do you suppose it will be within the realm of possibility for us to acquire the thing? We have written to our lawyer to see how finances stand, because I believe there are some complicated tax matters with arrears, which we have to take up this year, but I suppose one could make an arrangement for installment payment, or something of that sort? When you get the cable, go to it, and let us know what to expect when I go to Paris the first days of November.

For that, my dear, is the present plan. The unfortunate Robert has to stay here for a month after the inauguration of the new President,Hipólito Yrigoyen (1852–1933), of the Radical Civil Union party. thereby losing four weeks’ leave. It doesn’t seem quite fair, does it? So I shall have three or four weeks in Paris, and then join him in the U.S. It is complicated to plan, and nothing works out right as to dates. Other things being equal, we shall have one week in London and one in Paris on our way back here, say the last fortnight in March, so as to reach here by April 15th at latest. So, my dear, will you please move the League of Nations and the Hungarian Government to make you free to play with us at those times? A large part of the importance of Europe to us is you, and I feel that even Geneva and Budapest couldn’t be so hard-hearted as to keep us apart.

I will just run through your last letters seriatim, apologizing before and after for the dullness of this.

May 10th. The Scythian stagStag, Scythian, sixth century BCE, gold, 25.0 x 22.0 cm, Hungarian National Museum, Budapest; found in Zöldhalompuszta, Mezőkeresztes, Hungary, in 1928. staggered us (forgive the pun!), and the fanatical Fettich (I seem suddenly to have become alliterative!) sent us a series of photographs which made us even more envious than when we saw for the first time a similar animalThis animal sculpture has not been identified. Various pieces from the collection of David David-Weill were offered in two auctions at the Hôtel Drouot, Paris, in 1972: Bronzes antiques de Steppes et de l'Iran principalement d’Amlash et du Louristan, June 21, 1976, see esp. nos. 46, 56 ill.; and Bronzes antiques des steppes et de l’Iran: Ordos, Caucase, Asie central, Louistan, June 29, 1972. in David Weill’sDavid David-Weill (1871–1952), an American-born French businessman; the chairman of Lazard Frères, Paris; and an art collector and later chairman of the Conseil des Musées in Paris. collection. It would be worth while following up your young cannibal, and seeing what information and conclusions he brings out of Minusinsk.

It will be a blow if Fettich isn’t able to clear up the StroganoffCount Grigorij Sergeevich Stroganoff (1829–1910), a connoisseur and collector of paintings and objects of many cultures. Stroganoff had homes in Rome, Paris, and Saint Petersburg. dish mystery. Can’t you prod him?

Next time we are at Antigny we want to have a look at the photographic reference library. It sounds as if it were making strides.

Your ‘Niemand in der Familie’ incident rocked us with laughter.

You asked for notes on American collections containing Byzantine or allied stuff for Peirce, but, my dear, who has any? Blest if I know! I shall, though, before I have finished with the United States in March; and whatever I find out of any interest will be immediately passed on to him. Of course he is right to have turned down the Boston Museum suggestion, but I should think if Chinese were one’s greatest vice, that would be a good place to work in.

You said you were enclosing another copy of your paper on Romanos II,Hayford Peirce and Royall Tyler, “Deux mouvements dans l’art byzantin du Xe siècle,” Arethuse 16 (July 1927): 129–36. but it never came. Please send one to Paris, marked ‘Personal—Please Hold’ in any language you like, so that Melle. MalyeThérèse Malye (1886–1951), Mildred Barnes Bliss’s social secretary in Paris. keeps it for me.

I asked the Rector of the University here the other day what they thought of Diehl. Hyperbole followed. My silence whetted their curiosity, so one of the professors suddenly asked, ‘But why do you ask? Why should anyone put such a question?’ As I was about to leave their midst, my dramatic instinct made me answer quite quietly, as if there were mountains more to come, ‘Oh, because in Europe he has been considerably discredited, and recently supplanted’, and out I stepped! It is going to be rather fun.

Of WilpertJoseph Wilpert (1857–1944), a German art historian and archaeologist. I shall hear in New York and write you.

MaeztuRamiro de Maeztu y Whitney (1875–1936), a Spanish political theorist, journalist, literary critic, and diplomat who served as the Spanish ambassador to Argentina in 1928. sends you his love. His rival, Ortega y Gasset,José Ortega y Gasset (1883–1955), a Spanish liberal philosopher. is now here, and we attend his first lecture in an hour.

We are agog over Bill’s going to Canada.This news was not in the letter of May 10, 1928, but instead that of July 30, 1928 [2]. What an excellent opportunity for him to be independent, and know something that Father doesn’t! It is a great thing for him to have won his Sixth Form privileges and shooting prize and all the rest of it, as the Shakespearean medal means far less to a boy who is almost certain to have far more than medals later on.

We hope very much you will have been able to get the Nagy St. Nikolas [sic] treasureThe Nagy St. Miklos (Nagyszentmiklós) treasure, a collection of twenty-three early medieval gold vessels, variously dated between the sixth and tenth centuries, found in 1799 in Nagyszentmiklós, Hungary, in the Habsburg Empire (modern Sânnicolau Mare, Romania). The treasure was transferred to the Imperial Collection (now Kunsthistorisches Museum), Vienna. photographs; and have you found out yet whether the Philippoli [sic] VirginThe Virgin Elleusa, fourteenth century, bronze, Regional Archaeological Museum, Plovdiv, Bulgaria. has been saved from the earthquake? I saw a photograph of that years ago, curiously enough, and it always lingered in my memory, and I have an idea that with time and patience I may achieve a picture of it for you.

‘Quant à’“Regarding.” Andronicus [sic] enamels,Little is known about the Istanbul antiquities dealer Andronikos. The pieces included an enameled cross, two enameled “jewels,” and a ring; they were eventually acquired by Adolphe Stoclet. See letters of January 5, 1928; April 29, 1928; May 10, 1928; and October 23, 1929. Precisely which enamels came from Andronikos is not easy to ascertain. The cross is possibly the enameled reliquary cross from the Stoclet Collection now in the British Museum, M&ME 1965, 6-4, 1. I leave that to you and Hayford. If that coin deal makes it possible to get the enamels very advantageously, it would be stupid not to take the chance, but of course we shall have to be a bit wary now, in view of Sanguszko.

May 30th. ‘Tusen Tack’“Thank you.” about the GoldschmidtJulius Falk Goldschmidt (1882–1964), an owner of the jewelry and antiquities firm J. and S. Goldschmidt in Frankfurt. cross.BZ.1937.24. The Blisses eventually would acquire this cross in 1937. See also letters of May 30, 1928; April 7, 1930; and November 11, 1931. R.I.P.

June 6th. Idem. Your idea of forbidding archeos from writing up objects while they are still in dealers’ hands is a good one. Can’t the Bureau of Intellectual Co-operation get busy on that?

June 26th. Into this I cannot go. We would simply ‘schwerm’ in circles. I tremble for the price that carpet will fetch, in view of the one sold at Christie’s.

July 30th. Folly runs higher!

We are almost inclined to subscribe to the Encyclopedia Britannica for the sake of your and Peirce’s article,This was published in the 1929 fourteenth edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica. but decide that it is simpler to read it and learn it, than to build more shelves! Mind you let us know when the new book on ByzantiumL’art byzantin. is to be ready. It sounds good, with 500 reproductions and 100 pages of text. You will tell me what the new ideas are you are going to spring on the public.

All you write about the LeagueThe League of Nations, an international organization in Geneva whose principal missions were to maintain world peace, settle international disputes through negotiation and arbitration, and create stability within financial markets. is greedily devoured by us, and we have found it exceedingly useful in steering us through the maze of printed matter, which is so little discussed here that one has no exchange of ideas to clarify one’s own. The sooner the optant question is referred to The Hague the better—and, by the way, are you pleased by Mr. Hughes’Charles Evans Hughes Sr. (1862–1948), an American lawyer and politician. He served as a member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration, as a judge of the Permanent Court of International Justice in The Hague, and as a delegate to the Pan American Conference on Arbitration and Conciliation between 1928 and 1930. nomination? As you say, the principle involved in allowing any power to withdraw from the League because it doesn’t fancy a decision made, even though bound to accept it, is so serious that Geneva can become perfectly valueless, and serious loss of prestige at this time would do correspondingly more harm than previously, inasmuch as all the straws left blowing in the same direction would in time help to build the stack.

Robert and I were particularly gratified to read your opinion of the Kellogg Pact.Frank Billings Kellogg (1856–1937), an American lawyer, politician, and statesman who, at the time, was the U.S. secretary of state. In response to negotiations with French prime minister Aristide Briand, he submitted a plan for the renunciation of war as a national instrument of foreign policy. This note became the Kellogg-Briand Pact, signed in 1928, for which Kellogg was awarded the 1929 Nobel Peace Prize. Here I think they are merely piqued at not having been invited to the Paris party, and explain non-adherence on the ground of not wishing to embarrass the incoming government! They say Argentina has had peace for 100 years, that aggressive wars are taboo in her treaty with Brazil, and that she has no concern with what goes on in Europe anyway, so why bother? This is nothing new to her. And when one rejoins that, if it is harmless, she might as well sign it, and if she doesn’t sign it, it looks as if she has a reason against it on its inherent worth, the conversation ends, because there is no answer.The Kellogg-Briand Pact was signed on August 27, 1928, and was proclaimed to go into effect on July 24, 1929. Five nations—Argentina, Bolivia, El Salvador, Uraguay, and Yemen—were not signatory to the pact.

Sung in dullness. & if you have anything to say to me cable as I shall sail on the 1st boat going after Oct. 12.

Our love to AntignyMB

 
Associated Things: L'art byzantin
Associated Concepts: League of Nations
Associated Artworks: BZ.1937.24