Robert Woods Bliss to Royall Tyler, June 4, 1935

June 4, 1935

Royall Tyler, Esquire

Ministry of Finance

Budapest, Hungary

Dear Royall:

Here are several letters for Stockholm. We are thrilled, at the thought of your going there and only wish that we might be in Sweden during your visit, to see with you the many things that you will find of interest and beauty.

You must, of course, see the Museum,Nationalmuseum (National Museum of Fine Arts), Stockholm. where there are fine pictures and also a splendid collection of the “finds” made in the soil of Sweden. The director, Mr. GoffinMr. Goffin has not been identified.—for whom I include a letter—speaks French and knows more about the paintings than he does about the antiquities of his museum.

The Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities (to whose Director I enclose a letter of introduction) contains some fine things. I last saw it in September ‘33 during the Congress on the History of Art,Thirteenth International Congress of the History of Art, Stockholm, September 4–7, 1933, in which national art was the major theme. See Johnny Roosval, ed., XIIIe Congrès international d’histoire de l’art, Stockholm 4–7 septembre 1933 (Stockholm: Le Comité Organisateur du Congrès, 1933). and am not quite sure which objects were there on loan for the occasion and which ones belong to the museum. But, even so, you will enjoy giving some time to it, and I only hope that Professor AndersonJohan Gunnar Andersson (1874–1960), a Swedish archaeologist, paleontologist, and geologist, was the founding director of the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities (Östasiatiska Museet), Stockholm. will be there to tell you of his work in the Far East, for he has made some interesting discoveries and his theories are worth discussing with him.

There is included a letter to Baron de Geer,Baron Gerard Jacob De Geer (1858–1943), a Swedish geologist. who is more social than artistic, but he can help to make your stay agreeable. He discharges some function at court, I forget which. His wife is agreeable and they can open a few doors for you.

Erik WettergrenKarl Erik Wilhelm Wettergren (1883–1961), a Swedish museum curator and art writer. was for a time a curator at the National Museum, though he is now the director of the Dramatic Theatre, a state institution. With many characteristics of his race, he is by way of knowing everything that is worth seeing, and his wife,Gertrud Pålson-Wettergren (1897–1991), a Swedish mezzosoprano and opera star. who is the leading star at the opera, is most agreeable.

Finally, there is a letter for Professor Johnny Roosval,John “Johnny” Roosval (1879–1965), a Swedish art historian. one of the leading Swedish historians, who can be, undoubtedly, of interest and help in throwing light on any question you may want to have elucidated regarding Swedish history. Do not fail to go to Uppsala, the seat of the principal university of the country, where there is a fine library, and should you happen to be in Sweden at the time of one of their pagan celebrations, it will interest you enormously to be at the University town for such an occasion.

In my letter to Dr. Goffin I mentioned the collection of the Crown Prince of SwedenGustaf Adolf (1882–1973), later Gustaf VI Adolf, king of Sweden (1950–1973), was crown prince of Sweden for forty-three years during the reign of his father, King Gustaf V. in the hopes that he may find it possible to have you see it. The man in charge of the palace collection in a delightful old boy—Mr. BoettigerJohn Böttiger (1853–1936), a Swedish art expert, was the curator and archivist of the royal collection.—who has a thorough knowledge of textiles, particularly tapestries. Do have him show you the famous Persian rug.Probably the hunting carpet, probably Kashan, sixteenth century (a gift to the Swedish royal family in the late seventeenth century), silk and silver thread, Royal Palace Collection, Stockholm. See Arthur Upham Pope, ed., A Survey of Persian Art from Prehistoric Times to the Present (London and New York: Oxford University Press, 1938), pl. 1193. It will be interesting to know how you think it compares with the one in Vienna.Probably the hunting carpet, silk, Vienna Österreichisches Museum für angewandte Kunst, inv. no. T8336, which was reportedly a gift of Tsar Peter the Great,Russia, to Leopold I ofAustria, 1698. See Arthur Upham Pope, ed., A Survey of Persian Art from Prehistoric Times to the Present (London and New York: Oxford University Press, 1938), pls. 1191–1192. I have never seen anything to compare with it and when it is laid on the floor in the sunlight, as he occasionally did for us, it is a pure joy.

If you are only in Sweden for two or three days there will not be time for you to visit the Island of Gottland, but if you could possibly squeeze it in, a visit is well worth the time it requires, for there you will see the old wall of Visby, built in the days of the Hanseatic League preeminence, well conserved, and ruins of many fine churches. If you do manage to go there, do not fail to take a motor drive to see some of the small villages where there are some unusually interesting contrasts in their churches.

We have not made up our minds yet, but soon hope to do so, regarding the Stora Diptic [sic].BZ.1935.4.a–b. Thank you for the trouble you took in writing us so fully about it and also about the textile chez Mallon.See letters of May 15, 1935, and May 17, 1935.

We find that it will be necessary to spend the summer in Santa BarbaraCasa Dorinda. and expect to leave here about the 10th of July, not to return until the first of October; then, if our expectations can be realised, we will start for Europe some time the latter part of November. Details of our projects there will, of course, be communicated to you in due time.

We have a most exciting bit of news,The news was that the Albertina Collection of drawings and prints had been offered jointly to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and Fogg Art Museum. See letter of July 17, 1935 [1]. which does not concern us directly, but will make you sit up when you eventually hear it. I know it is unkind to put you on an uneasy seat this way but I can not say more at this time.

With much love from us both,

Yours ever,

RWB

Enclosures.

 
Associated People: Paul Mallon
Associated Things: M. & R. Stora, Paris
Associated Artworks: BZ.1935.4.a-b