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Royall Tyler to Mildred Barnes Bliss, November 8, 1929

29, Rue d’Astorg

Dearest Mildred, I have just returned from Barcelona, where Hayford and I greatly enjoyed the exhibition.The 1929 Barcelona International Exposition took place from May 20, 1929, to January 15, 1930. A dazzling collection of works of art from the churches and convents of Spain, which it would take one years to see in their respective homes. UtrilloMiguel Utrillo y Molins (1862–1934), a Spanish painter and friend of Royall Tyler. travelled 40,000 kilometres to gather them together—and after he had done so PrimoMiguel Primo de Rivera y Orbaneja (1870–1930), a Spanish dictator, aristocrat, and military official who was appointed prime minister of Spain by the king and served for seven years (1923–1930) as dictator. decided that the Exhibition was taking on too Catalan a hue, and all the Catalans were démissionéd“Resigned.” from the management of it. The contribution of the retired officers who succeeded them is a series of ‘cuadros históricos,“Historical paintings.” Mme. Tussaud groups,A reference to the wax sculptures of Madame Tussauds, the museum in London of waxworks of historical and other figures. life size, of historic events, in order to enhance the beauty of which the whole show (on the ground floor where all the early things are, down to about 1600) is lit with electric light, the light of day being shut out by curtains. This raises the deuce with the textiles and tapestries, of course. However, one is lucky to have seen them at all.

Utrillo the same as ever, though 70.

Prices at the Rosenberg saleSammlung Marc Rosenberg (Berlin: Hermann Ball and Paul Graupe, 1929). See also letter of October 12, 1929. went very high, and I wasn’t able to get any of the Byzantine jewels I sent Kaleb. to bid for. Some of them went to three times the prices he and I thought were safe upward limits. However, I did get for you threeThis statement is unclear. The auction catalogue, Sammlung Marc Rosenberg (Berlin: Hermann Ball and Paul Graupe, 1929), shows only two lots of Pre-Columbian objects: 328 (a single gold object [PC.B.468] that Robert Woods Bliss acquired) and 329 (a collection of thirty-three gold pieces). Robert Woods Bliss also acquired these thirty-three pieces, although he retained only nine of them: PC.B.396, PC.B.407 (no. 6), PC.B.408 (no. 29), PC.B.413 (no. 17), PC.B.414 (no. 10), PC.B.415 (no. 3), PC.B.417 (no. 25), PC.B.418 (no. 11), and PC.B.425 (no. 34). lots of Pre-Columbian gold objects, some of which look superb in the catalogue, and Kaleb. says they are much better than they look in reproduction. These—there are some 30 odd pieces, all gold and some fairly large, I got, all together, for £181, which is very cheap.

Kaleb. had recourse to a little device to get them. I think you’ll laugh. They were right at the end of the second day of the sale. Kaleb. saw some people, at the exhibition before the sale started, examining them, and overheard them saying that as they weren’t interested in anything but the American objects, they would come in late on the second day.

So, early in the proceedings on the second day, Kaleb. went up to the auctioneer, told him that he had got to catch a train, and induced him to put up the Am. things at once, out of the numerical order, with the result that Kaleb. bought them without the competition of the amateurs who, when they arrived, found the bird had flown.

You’ll like those objects, there are birds, frogs, little people, all sorts of things, all in gold.

No more for the moment, dearest Mildred. The objects from Berlin are being sent by pouch, to avoid duty.

Much love.
R. T.

Associated Places: Barcelona (Spain); Paris (France)
Associated Things: Kalebdjian Frères