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Royall Tyler to Robert Woods Bliss, December 14, 1934

Finance Ministry



Dear Robert.

Many thanks for your letters of Nov. 13 and 21.

I’m very glad you’ve bought that black 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 “Nov. 19, 1934 N3242 Mexican mask Mexican jade pendant 1200.” See also letters of November 13, 1934, and November 21, 1934. from Brummer, and the ewer.BZ.1935.6. I haven’t access to a catalogue of the Mackay Coll.Clarence Hungerford Mackay (1874–1938), an American financier and collector. See The Clarence H. Mackay Collection (New York, 1926), unpaginated; and letter of November 13, 1934. here, but I’ve never seen a PeruginoPietro 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. for which I’d give my soul, or even my shirt. However, I’ll try and keep an open mind on the subject. But I’m so anxious that you should get that DreyThe firm of A. S. Drey was founded in Munich in the 1860s by Aaron S. Drey. The firm later expanded to London and New York. In New York, Aaron Drey’s grandson, Paul Drey (1885–1953), was a senior partner of the Paul Drey Gallery, founded in 1920. cross.BZ.1936.20.

Of course Hayford and I will be delighted to tell Miss MinorDorothy Miner (1904–1973), medievalist curator of manuscripts at the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, beginning in 1934. See “Miner, Dorothy E[ugenia],” Dictionary of Art Historians, (accessed September 9, 2015). what we thing about the date of that MSGospel Lectionary (Walters Art Museum, W.520), attributed to the second half of the tenth century. See Georgi R. Parpulov, “A Catalogue of the Greek Manuscripts at the Walters Art Museum,” The Journal of the Walters Art Museum 62 (2004): 77–83 and 148–49. Selections of the manuscript are available as a digital facsimile at (accessed September 9, 2015). in the Walters Gallery. Many thanks for taking so much trouble about it.

I’m sad that you have given up the Egypt plan for this year. It’s a good thing to get there before the Tourist season which starts in Feb., but you’d still be quite safe end Dec.–Jan. I don’t advise Nov. Dec., which is apt to be the rainy season there.

If you do go to Central AmericaIn February and March 1935, Robert Woods Bliss traveled through the highlands and tropics of Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras to see the ancient cities of the Maya. His traveling companion, Frederic C. Walcott, was at the time a trustee of the Carnegie Institution for Science of Washington and arranged the trip, which included visits to the archaeological sites under excavation by the Carnegie Institution for Science. For an outline and images of this trip, see (accessed September 9, 2015). Mildred Barnes Bliss was not able to take this trip due to the illness and death of her mother, Anna Barnes Bliss, who died on February 22, 1935. after the New Year, think of me.

Much love to you both from Elisina and me, and Xmas and New Year wishes.


R. T.

Enclosed, a review FalkeOtto von Falke (1862–1942), a German art historian of the decorative arts. He was appointed director of the Kunstgewerbemuseum, Cologne, in 1895 and director the Kunstgewerbemuseum, Berlin, in 1908. In 1920, he succeeded Wilhelm von Bode as general director of Berlin museums, a position which he held until his retirement in 1927. In retirement, von Falke founded and acted as publisher of the journal Pantheon. did of our Vol. I, in PantheonOtto von Falke, “Hayford Peirce et Royall Tyler, L’Art Byzantin. Tome I. Paris, Librairie de France, 1932,” Pantheon 11 (June, 1933): xxvii–xxviii. last year, and which I missed at the time. Note what he says of poor Wilpert’sJoseph (Josef) Wilpert (1857–1944), a priest and archaeologist best known for cataloging the frescoes found in the catacombs of Rome. drip,Von Falke writes in “Hayford Peirce et Royall Tyler, L’Art Byzantin. Tome I. Paris, Librairie de France, 1932,” Pantheon 11 (June, 1933), xxviii: “Als ein Beispiel dieser Einzeluntersuchungen wäre der Text zu dem Silberkelch des 4. Jahrhunderts von Antiochia hervorzuheben; an dieser Stelle wird auch die Fälschungspsychose des Mgr. Wilpert, der ohne ausreichende Autopsie den Kelch und andere syrische Silberschätze des 6. und 7. Jahrhunderts von einwandfreier Echtheit angefochten hatte, nachdrücklich und uberzeugend zurückgewiesen.” (“As an example of these individual studies, the text for the silver chalice of the 4th century from Antioch should be emphasized; on this point, the forgery psychosis of Mgr. Wilpert—who had contested without an adequate autopsy the completely authentic chalice and other Syrian silver treasures of the 6th and 7th centuries—is also rejected emphatically and convincingly.”) Wilpert had condemned the Antioch chalice and other Early Christian artworks as modern forgeries. See Joseph Wilpert, “Early Christian Sculpture: Its Restoration and Its Modern Manufacture,” Art Bulletin 9, no. 2 (December 1926): 122–138; and Giuseppe Wilpert, “Ristauri di sculture christiane antiche e antichita moderne,” Rivista di Archeologia Cristiana 4 (1927): 310–33. which was taken so seriously by Princeton.


Berlin Schlachtensee 23.X.34.

Sehr verehrter Herr Tyler,

Mein aufrichtiger und herzlicher Dank für die freundliche Sendung des II Bandes l’Art Byzantin kommt etwas spät weil ich es vorher lesen und studieren wollte und weil ich bald eine Anzeige des Werkes, wie des I Bandes / Pantheon, 1933, Juniheft/, im Pantheon bringen möchte. Ihr Text hat mir viele neue Einblicke in stilistiche Zusammenhänge eröffnet und in the Tafeln habe ich eine Menge mir noch nicht bekannte Kunstwerke gefunden, die mich höchlich interessieren, schon will die Textilkunst in diesem Band eine so grosse Rolle spielt. Dass sie dabei meiner so liebenswürdig gedacht haben, ist mir eine grosse Freude, und ich danke Ihnen und Mr. Hayford Peirce dafür ganz besonders, wenn Sie auch die bunten “Alexandriner” Stoffe nach Byzanz versetzen. Es ware ja ein wunder, wenn sich die vor 20 Jahren aufgestellten Hypothesen noch alle stichhaltig erweisen würden. Ganz überzeugt haben Sie nich in diesem Punkt aber doch nicht; der starke Einfluss der bunten Reiterstoffe auf Akhmim und auf die Koptenwerke rein bleibt doch ein wesentliches Argument für Alexandrien. Vielleicht stele ich einmal meine Pro und Contra zusammen und schicke sie Ihnen zur Erwägung.

Mit besten Grüssen und Empfehlungen

Ihr aufrichtig ergebener.

Falke.“Dear Mr. Tyler, My sincere and heartfelt thanks for kindly sending the second volume of L’Art Byzantin comes a little late since I wanted to read and study it first and because I soon would like to publish a report of the work in Pantheon, like the first volume / Pantheon, 1933, June issue. Your text has given me many new insights into stylistic connections and in the plates I have found many artworks not yet known to me, which interest me greatly, as the textile art in this volume plays so great a role. That you have thought of me so kindly gives me great pleasure, and I thank you and Mr. Hayford Peirce particularly, although you assign the multicolored ‘Alexandrian’ textiles to Byzantium. It would indeed be a miracle if the hypotheses already established for 20 years would prove to be sound. You have not quite convinced me on this point yet; the strong influence of the multicolored rider textiles from Akhmim on the Coptic works remains purely a significant argument for Alexandria. Perhaps someday I’ll put together my pros and cons and send it to you for consideration. With best wishes and regards, Yours sincerely, Falke.”

Associated People: Hayford Peirce; Joseph Brummer
Associated Places: Budapest (Hungary)
Associated Artworks: BZ.1935.6; BZ.1936.20