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Stendahl Art Galleries Records: Guillermo Echániz Correspondence

Letter 10: January 12, 1942

Getty Research Institute (2017.M.38) Box 11, Folder 9


January 12,1942

Dear Bill:

Your letter of January 4th reached me today, the same time your letter of Jan. 8th.[1]

I am enclosing the envelope as the letter of Jan. 4th has been opened.[2] Just thought you

ought to know this and act accordingly.

Whether it was opened on this side or your side, I don’t know.

I am intensely interested and will do everything I can, so carry on.[3]




1. The letter of January 4, 1942 from Echániz to Stendahl is included in this Research Guide. The letter of January 8, 1942 from Echániz to Stendahl has not been located in the Stendahl Art Galleries Records.

2. This suggests that Stendahl was concerned about wartime censors. In a letter dated January 22, 1942 (Box 11, Folder 9), Guillermo Echániz tells Earl Stendahl that this very letter (Stendahl to Echániz, January 12, 1942) was opened by censors in the U.S.

3. This refers to Echániz’s “proposition” to Stendahl, in the letter dated January 4, 1942, to begin larger scale, clandestine excavations in Teotihuacan, including the extraction of murals. The “frescoes” discussed in this selection of letters include at least two from the Tetitla compound and one from the Atetelco compound, all likely looted from Teotihuacan c. 1939–1942. The two from Tetitla are now in the collections of Dumbarton Oaks (PC.B.062, the so-called “Net-Jaguar Mural”) and the Denver Art Museum (1965.202). Earl Stendahl sold the Net-Jaguar Mural to Robert Woods Bliss in 1941 (Inventory Number 579 found in Inventory Book). His son, Alfred (“Al”) Stendahl, sold the other to the Denver Art Museum in 1965 (Inventory Number 1538 found in Stock Book and Inventory Book). The Atetelco Mural is now in the collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art (1950-134-404). Earl Stendahl sold it to the Arensbergs in 1950 (see Hoobler 2020: 385, n. 264. This may be Inventory Number 1539 found in Stock Book and Inventory Book). At least one other mural, now at the Musées royaux d'art et d'histoire/Koninklijke Musea voor Kunst en Geschiedenis in Brussels (A.AM.48.16.623), was also extracted during this same period, though it did not pass through Stendahl’s hands (see the letters dated November 13, 1940 and August 4, 1941 included in this Research Guide). Additionally, there is at least one other “frescoe” listed in the Stendahl Galleries stockbooks (Inventory Number 580 found in Stock Book and Inventory Book), and yet more are referred to in other letters from Echaniz, suggesting that some mural fragments extracted during this period are either no longer extant; remain unidentified in private collections; or lack definitive links to the looting that took place c. 1939–1942.