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Royall Tyler to Mildred Barnes Bliss, October 21, 1930

29, rue d’Astorg
Paris
F Anjou 16–88
21.X.30Tuesday.

I must write at once, dearest Mildred, to tell you how delighted I was to get your letter of the 3rd, which came this morning, and to hear that you had a particular feeling for the Strigel. It is very light and gay in colour, and the insertion in the bodice (representing a hawking scene in embroidery) is most charmingly painted. The face modelling isn’t poor. It isn’t very deeply studied, no doubt, but the expression of a lady whose thoughts were perhaps not deep has been admirably caught, and in a word the treatment is perfectly appropriate to the subject. Condition perfect, as far as I could see. It’s a very desirable picture: German art at its very most pleasing. I don’t think you’ll want another German picture.

I had a letter the other day from the Instituto Cultural A.N.A.,The Instituto Cultural Argentino–Norte Americano was created in Buenos Aires in the late 1920s as one of several Latin American pro-American cultural institutes that provided libraries, English classes, lectures, exhibits, and other activities in an attempt to promote appreciation of United States culture and foreign policy. The Blisses had enthusiastically encouraged the founding of the Institute in 1927 and funded the establishment of its non-profit American Book Shop in 1933. See J. Warshaw, “The Institute Cultural Argentino-Norteamericano,” Hispania 21, no. 4 (December 1938): 243. and answered it yesterday—before I had had your letter,See letter of October 3, 1930. though of course I realised that you were behind it. In answering, I said I hoped to be able to come sometime, but that I couldn’t tell when. I’ll talk to HambrosHambros Bank, a British bank based in London. The Hambros Bank specialized in Anglo-Scandinavian business, with expertise in trade finance and investment banking, and was the sole banker to the Scandinavian kingdoms for many years. The bank was sold in 1998. about it and see what can be done. I’d love to go, just to be sure of having some long talks with you.

You’ll have had a long dictated letter from me giving impressions of Germany. Since I wrote, the monetary position has improved, and recent local elections in Germany have shown a loss of ground for Hitler.

Of course this doesn’t touch the fundamental issue, and I recognise the possibility that the war tendency will prevail. At the same time, there’s an anti war tendency, and it’s a question of which is going to win. If there is another war, the chances of survival for European civilisation are pretty poor—but one can’t even be sure of that much.

Italy is hard up and has very serious internal difficulties, which are causing her to look longingly at the credit possibilities of which France holds the key—and I understand something may come of it. I only hope it may come off if there is to be a tour de valse“Waltz around the room, i.e. a temporary partnership.”—at the right time to permit our Byz. show to profit to the extent of getting the Treasure of San MarcoThe treasury of the church of Saint Mark’s in Venice houses many objects from the churches and palaces of Constantinople brought to Venice following the 1204 conquest of Byzantium by the Crusaders. and the Treasure of MonzaThe treasury of the cathedral at Monza holds an important collection of Early Byzantine objects. lent to us, as well as a few other things.

No news of Doucet.Jacques Doucet (1853–1929), a French fashion designer and collector. See Collection Jacques Doucet: Céramiques d’Extrême-Orient, bronzes, sculptures, peintures chinoises et japonaises, laques du Japon, faïences de la Perse, de la Transcaspie et de la Mésopotamie, miniatures persanes, vente du vendredi 28 novembre 1930 (Paris: Impr. Lahure, 1930). The Blisses would acquire a Persian bowl (BZ.1930.11) from this sale. Everything is so bad that no important sales are being announced, pending some improvement. The Soviets are sending more and more important works of art out of the country—I hear their Van Eycks are now to be had—at a price.A syndicate formed by Andrew Mellon purchased Jan van Eyck’s The Annunciation from the State Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg, for $502,899 in June 1930. Mellon gave the painting to the United States government in 1937, and it is now in the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., acc. no. 1937.1.39.

Edith is very well; I’ve just spent a week end with her.

Elisina returns tomorrow.

Bless you, dearest Mildred

R. T.

 
Associated People: Edith Wharton; Elisina Tyler
Associated Places: Paris (France)
Associated Artworks: BZ.1930.11