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Royall Tyler to Robert Woods Bliss, July 31, 1937

Hotel Lincoln


Ce 31.VII.37

Dear Robert.

I just went into Storas, & found he had there the gold Byz. VI cent crossBZ.1937.24. which Hackenbrock [sic]Zacharias Max Hackenbroch (1884–1937), a German Jewish art dealer in Frankfurt, Germany. He died in Frankfurt on August 9, 1937, nine days after this letter was written. offered to you, I think in 1931, for, if my memory is not at fault, $12000 (or wasn’t it even $15,000?). It still belongs to Hackenbrock [sic], but H. has fallen on evil days, in treatment in Germany (being a Jew). Sr. Stora says he’d now take French Fr. 60,000. I’ve told Stora to send you immediately photos of the cross, front & back, and to get from Hackenbrock [sic] the lowest price he will take, & let you know. If it is Fr. 60,000, I strongly advise you to buy. It’s a unique object, & very fine indeed. Rosenberg did an article on it (or was it Falke?Otto 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.) in I think Pantheon.Marc Rosenberg, “Ein goldenes Pektoralkreuz,” Pantheon 1 (1928): 151–55. At Frs. 60,000, it is cheap, I think.

Edith is a bit stronger. I don’t think I said, in my last letter, that her real condition is only being told to the very few intimate friends. Please don’t breathe a word of what I told you.

Love to you both

R. T.


I hear that H. M. the King of RoumaniaCarol II (1893–1953) reigned as king of Romania between 1930 and 1940. would like to sell his El Grecos,El Greco (Doménikos Theotokópoulos) (1541–1614), a painter of the Spanish Renaissance. & indeed that his desire to do so lies at the root of the present showDomenico Theotocopuli, El Greco, Wildenstein et Cie., 21, rue de la Boétie, Paris. chez Wildenstein, of which I’m sending you a catalogue.Georges Wildebstein et al., Domenico Theotocopuli, El Greco (Paris: La Gazette des Beaux-Arts, 1937). There are some holy snorters among them: (1) the Bethrothal of the Virgin;El Greco, The Marriage of the Virgin, 1613–1614, oil on canvas, National Museum of Art, Bucharest. This painting was a gift to Romania by King Carol II. bracketed (1), or (2) the big Adoration of the Shepherds.El Greco, Adoration of the Shepherds, ca. 1596, oil on canvas, National Museum of Art, Bucharest. This painting was a gift to Romania by King Carol II. And the portrait of Canon Bosio!El Greco, Canon Giacomo Bosio, ca. 1610–1614, oil on canvas, Kimbell Museum, Fort Worth. King Michael removed this painting to Switzerland in 1947 before his abdication. In 1976, he sold it to Wildenstein & Co., New York, who then sold it to the Kimbell Art Foundation in Forth Worth. The painting was the object of Romania’s unsuccessful lawsuits against both Wildenstein & Co. and the Kimbell Art Foundation in 1985. Of course this is a bad, bad business, and my love for Byzantine very nearly (but not quite) prevents me from communicating these horrible tidings to you. I don’t know whether it would be politic for me to ask Wildenstein if the rumeur is true. I’ll think it over. Please give me a line when you’ve recovered from this blow, as to your wishes. I hope they’re negative, but. . . . . .

R. T.

H. M.’s pictures come from the Baron TaylorBaron Isidore Justin Séverin Taylor (1789–1879), the royal administrator of the Théâtre Français and a collector of paintings. Coll. Taylor was Louis Philippe’sLouis Philippe I (1773–1850), king of France from 1830 to 1848. adviser, & bought for him the superb ZubaransFrancisco de Zurbarán (baptized 1598–1664), a painter of the Spanish late Renaissance. now at Grenoble. BorrowGeorge Henry Borrow (1803–1881), an English author who wrote novels and travelogues based on his own experiences traveling around Europe. knew him, & speaks of him in the Bible in Spain.The Bible in Spain, subtitled “Or the Journey, Adventures, and Imprisonment of an Englishman in an Attempt to Circulate the Scriptures in the Peninsula,” was published in London in 1843 and is the most famous work of George Borrow.

Associated People: Edith Wharton; Marc Rosenberg
Associated Things: M. & R. Stora, Paris
Associated Artworks: BZ.1937.24