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Royall Tyler to Robert Woods Bliss, June 8, 1934 [1]

Hotel Statler



Dear Robert

I’ve just had your letter of the 7th. I know nothing about Dr. I. Révész.Emery Reves (Imre Révész in Hungarian) (1904–1981), a writer, publisher, literary agent, collector, and advocate of world peace. See letter of June 7, 1934. PijornJosep (José) Pijoán i Soteras (1881–1963), a Spanish architect, historian, art critic, essayist, and poet in the Catalan language. He published Arte cristiano primitivo: Arte bizantino hasta el saqueo de Constantinopla por los cruzados el año 1204 (Mardid: Espalsa-Calpe, 1935). Royall Tyler’s reference to Pijoán suggests that Robert Woods Bliss’s letter of June 7, 1934, had a handwritten addendum that inquired about Pijoán and his request for photographs. I used to know well, years ago in Barcelona, of which place he is a native. He has done some valuable work in the somewhat stony field of Catalan primitive painting. I think he might be allowed to have photos. of your objects.

I hope so much to see you in N.Y. next week.

Hayford & I today (hush, hush) had one of the Botkin enamelsMikhail Petrovich Botkin (1839–1914), a Russian collector. See Rosalind Polly Gray, “Muscovite Patrons of European Painting: The Collections of Vasily Kokorev, Dmitry Botkin, and Sergei Tretyakov,” Journal of the History of Collections 10, no. 2 (January 1998), 191–92; Mikhail P. Botkin, Collection M. P. Botkine (Saint Petersburg: Tovarishchestvo R. Golike i A. Vil’borg, 1911); and “The Botkin Collection and the Naïvete of the Educated Consumer,” Before the Blisses: Nineteenth-Century Connoisseurship of the Byzantine Minor Arts, Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, accessed September 8, 2015. His collection included a large number of Byzantine enamels, many of which were forged. The Boston enamel referred to by Royall Tyler is probably a Russian imitation of a Byzantine medallion of Saint Nicholas, ca. late nineteenth century–1911, gold cloisonné enamel, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, no. 28.243. See Hanns Swarzenski and Nancy Netzer, Medieval Objects in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston: Enamels and Glass (Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, 1986), 148–49, no. A1 (technical note by Pamela England). withdrawn from the show case of the Museum here, after getting the people to look at in under the quartz lamp.Royall Tyler believed that fake Byzantine enamels fluoresced when illuminated by a quartz lamp. It’s a brother to those of which Valentian [sic]Wilhelm (William) Rheinhold Otto Valentiner (1880–1958), a German art historian who became the director of the Detroit Institute of Art in 1924. bought 4 or 5 for Detroit,Among these were gold cloisonné enamels of the Transfiguration and Baptism, Detroit Institute of Arts, acc. nos. 28.57 and 39.647, the latter loaned to the Detroit Institute of Arts in 1928 by Robert H. Tannihill until 1939, when the museum acquired it. See Ella S. Siple, “Byzantine Enamels in Detroit, Worcester, and Boston,” The Burlington Magazine for Connoisseurs 53, no. 307 (October 1928): 197–99. These and other twelfth-century Byzantine cloisonné enamels were forgeries of the late nineteenth–early twentieth century that were formerly part of the collection of Mikhail Petrovich Botkin (1839–1913). See A. C. W., “Byzantine Enamels,” Bulletin of the Detroit Institute of Arts 9, no. 8 (May 1928): 90–93. & Mrs. O. KahnAdelaide “Addie” Wolff Kahn, the wife of Otto Hermann Kahn (1867–1934), a German-born American investment banker, collector, philanthropist, and patron of the arts. The gold cloisonné enamels owned by the Kahns—Christ Flanked by the Virgin and Saint John (52.54.1), Crucifixion (52.54.2), Ascension (52.54.3), Saint Michael (52.54.4), Saints Peter and Paul (52.54.5), Saints James and Andrew (52.54.6), Saint Mark (52.54.7), Saint John the Evangelist (52.54.8), Saint Luke (52.54.9), Saint Simon (52.54.10), and Virgin and Child (52.54.11)—are now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. has a dozen or more.

The big Egyptian sculpture & the Greek things here are superb. The medieval quite negligeable.

I enjoyed my visit to you enormously.


R. T.

Sachs is away, unfortunately. I saw the Fogg today. Disappointed with their sculpture.

Associated People: Hayford Peirce; Paul J. Sachs