Robert Woods Bliss to Royall Tyler, November 13, 1934

November 13th, 1934.

Dear Royall,

Your two letters of October 27th and 29th have reached me, both being forwarded to New York, where Mildred and I spent last week. We went over to vote, in what proved to be another Democratic landslide,In the U.S. Senate elections of 1934, which occurred in the middle of Democratic president Franklin Roosevelt’s first term, the Democrats took nine Republican seats. Mildred Barnes Bliss and Robert Woods Bliss were registered Republicans in New York, where they maintained an apartment at 6 East 65th Street. and only returned here yesterday morning.

We looked at a few objects, of course, and I finally bought the black hardstone Mexican maskThis mask is no longer in the Robert Woods Bliss Collection of Pre-Columbian Art, although when and how it left the collection is not documented. The mask is listed on office file cards in the Joseph and Ernest Brummer Records, box 25, The Cloisters Library and Archives, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York: “Quoted April 27, 1934 Mask No 1. Black & white N3242 $900”; “Oct. 11, 1934 Quoted to Mr. Bliss Last prices on: N3242 Mex. Mask N3251 Mex. flat jade $1200”; and “N3242 Mexican mask Mexican jade pendant 1200.” See also letter of November 21, 1934. from Brummer. He had just received five early Greek silver vesselsThe Blisses did not acquire these pieces. They are referenced on an office file card in the Joseph and Ernest Brummer Records, box 25, The Cloisters Library and Archives, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York: “Nov. 19, 1934 X 798/802 5 pieces Greek silver 4000.” See also letter of November 21, 1934. (4th or 3rd century probably) found in the tomb of an athlete, including [omitted in preserved carbon copy] each lovely in shape and decoration. He also has an exquisite glass pitcher or ewer,BZ.1935.6. The pitcher is listed on an office file card in the Joseph and Ernest Brummer Records, box 25, The Cloisters Library and Archives, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York: “Nov. 19, 1934 P11030 Glass pitcher 770.” See also letter of November 21, 1934. which he said was found in or near Antioch. I think we shall probably acquire both of these. The pitcher is intact, although it has cracks, but it has never been actually broken.

We also looked at some Italian primitives, one of which, a Perugino,Pietro Perugino (ca. 1446/1450–1523), an Italian Renaissance painter of the Umbrian school. The Blisses did not acquire this painting. It is referenced on an office file card in the Joseph and Ernest Brummer Records, box 25, The Cloisters Library and Archives, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York: “Nov. 9, 1934 Quoted to Mrs. Bliss N 3301 Painting: Anthony & Cleopatra Said our cost was $5500 and we want 10% profit” and “Nov. 11, 1934 Quoted N 3027 Painting $5500.” This painting has not been identified. tempts us. If you have access to a catalogueThe Clarence H. Mackay Collection (New York, 1926), unpaginated. of the Clarence MackayClarence Hungerford Mackay (1874–1938), an American financier and collector. collection you will see there illustrated a Perugino, which I think may have been (and this is not for repetition, of course) copied a hundred years later from the Perugino which we saw in New York. If not copied from it, it was certainly inspired by it.

I am writing to-day to the Walters Gallery asking that photographs be made in accordance with your request,See letters of September 18, 1934, and October 29, 1934. and hope that they will be forthcoming without delay.

“Betsibill”Bettine Tyler and William Royall Tyler. went with us on Sunday afternoon to Beveridge Webster’sBeveridge Webster (1908–1999), an American pianist and educator. He was a friend and correspondent of Mildred Barnes Bliss and Robert Woods Bliss. See Bliss Papers, HUGFP 76.8, box 41. début, when he played with the Philharmonic Orchestra at Carnegie Hall.On November 11, 1934, Beveridge Webster made his American debut at Carnegie Hall with the New York Philharmonic, playing Edward MacDowell’s Second Piano Concerto. Although his medium, a concerto of McDowell’s, did not give him the scope of which he is capable, he made an admirable performance, which impressed the audience, which was enthusiastic in its applause. The press criticismsSee “MacDowell Concerto,” New York Times, November 12, 1934. next day were favourable, though reserving themselves for his concert on the 30th.Beveridge Webster gave a recital at Carnegie Hall on November 30, 1934. But Mildred and I have no apprehensions at all after hearing him last Sunday that he will acquit himself well.

Yours ever,

RWB

 
Associated People: Joseph Brummer
Associated Artworks: BZ.1935.6