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Royall Tyler to Mildred Barnes Bliss, undated [2] (after April 7, 1912)

8 Rue de la Barouillère


Dear Mildred.

I was so sorry to miss you and HeatonClement Heaton (1861–1940), a British artist, stained glass painter, sculptor, and mosaicist. See also letter of April 1, 1913. yesterday; I hope to have another chance of seeing him. Elisina and I have just been to Mme. Langweil’s.Florine Ebstein-Langweil (1861–1958), a Parisian dealer of Asian antiquities, especially Chinese and Japanese, until 1913. She left major bequests to the Musée de Strasbourg and the Musée d’Unterlinden in Colmar. Her great gold screen and the other you mention, we saw.The Blisses acquired a twelve-panel lacquer screen (each panel, 9 ft. 2 in. x 12.5 in.) from Langweil in 1912. On one side were ceremonial dancers before a high official, and on the reverse was a poem. In early 1941, the Blisses donated the screen to the Asian antiquities dealer C. T. Loo to be raffled to support the Chinese Women’s Relief Association for the benefit of Chinese children and Madame Chiang Kai-Shak. Loo correspondence and Ex-Collection, Chinese, files, Dumbarton Oaks Archives. I am really incompetent to talk about them, because I honestly don’t very much care for them. Sumptuous and magnificent they are, that I can see, and on their own ground those two, particularly the one with the gold ground seem to me to be the finest I’ve seen. But if you’ll bear with me I’d like to say that the drawing on even the best strikes me as empty and mechanical, and the whole effect too rich: that is to say, too much gorgeousness of material for the attenuated spirit of those who made them to deal with. I don’t pretend to criticize any individual specimens; and I really believe those two to be first in their class; but the class is not for me. You may say (or may not) that they don’t pretend to be works of art. In that case they are condemned for spinning out so much figure decoration that is nothing but well-worn and stale restatement. But even I am not insensible to their splendour, that is real, but too heavy to be lived with.

What I really enjoyed was the white Sung jar.The Blisses would later acquire a white-glazed Northern Song dynasty jar and cover (HC.C.1921.003.[EW]) from the Parisian dealer Paul Mallon (inv. no. 6887) on August 29, 1921. A most beautiful thing that, which I would like to have myself, I hope you will get it. We saw a few more good pieces of pottery. When you go back do make her show you some Sung things she said you had not seen. A full-bellied slate grey bottle with a small neck surrounded by 4 little handles, a fine YuanThe Yuan dynasty or Great Yuan Empire was the branch of the Mongol Borjugin dynasty, established by Kublai Khan, that ruled China between 1271 and 1368. light grey cup, and a couple of clair-de luneClair-de-lune (“moonlight”) glaze is a high-fired soft, monochrome, pale lavender-blue porcelain glaze with a low cobalt content developed at the imperial kiln of Jingdezhen during the Kangxi period (1662–1722) and reserved exclusively for imperial porcelains of the Qing dynasty (1644–1912). (rather too dark, these). It may be possible to look long and well at the best Sung and still desire to live with those screens; but not for me.

I beseech you to go to the show at the rue de La Ville l’EvèqueGalerie de la Chambre Syndicale des Beaux-Arts, 18 rue de la Ville-l’Eveque, Paris.—and go back if you like it—; for among the RenoirsPierre-Auguste Renoir (1841–1919), a French artist who was a leading painter in the development of the Impressionist style. and CezannesPaul Cézanne (1839–1906), a French artist who was a leading painter in the development of the Post-Impressionist style. there are things out of collections that are very hard to see, and that I believe to be the greatest painting produced for a long time, and able to hold up its head in any company.

Yours sincerely

Royall Tyler

Any time, if you are free and will let me know, next week I’d be overjoyed to go to that show—or any where else with you.

William is busy with Elisina but she wants to say that we do love you, and did go to Mme. Langweil, and enjoyed it too—and yesterday was a great disappointment.

Associated People: C. T. Loo; Paul Mallon
Associated Places: Paris (France)
Associated Artworks: HC.C.1921.003.(EW)