RK spends many hours each day talking on the telephone with all sorts of folks who are involved with rugs -- either as collectors or dealers. We also talk to others who are not exclusively involved with rugs but buy and sell them as part of their businesses.
We do this to find pieces we want to buy and also to collect information and, often, gossip.
Since we started this mini-series on the rest of the hoffscheister story we have had some of our telephone respondents recount stories of their encounters with hoffscheister and not one of them had anything good to say about him either.
Most of them did not want us to make public their story but one very astute German-speaking dealer reminded us of one quite interesting episode in hoffscheister's rug career that would have probably not made it into our postings had he not mentioned it.
Before the wall came down and his bank account swelled up with German marks from the land he inherited and sold in East Germany, hoffscheister's main source of income, besides the money his daddy helped him with, came from washing rugs for collectors and dealers.
One of his best customers was maltzahn from rippon-boswell.
That was until hoffscheister screwed up several rugs maltzahn had given him to clean.
Eventually maltzahn took hoffscheister to court but hoffmeister was two steps ahead of ole fat-head detlef. He enlisted the aid of Peter Bausback as his star witness and although Peter is not, in our opinion, an expert of historic rugs he is an expert at making money in the rug business, an honest and forthright person and a very classy guy. We like him much.
Seems Peter showed up in court on hoffscheister's side and after taking the stand charmed the judge and entire courtroom, except of course maltzahn. Bausback took control of the situation and by the time he was done he, like the snake charmer with a melodious flute, had everyone and the judge spellbound and in his hand.
The judge quickly dismissed the case and maltzahn slithered off back to Friedrichstrasse to cry in his beer stein.
Too bad, really, because even though we did not see the rugs hoffscheister supposedly messed up in his efforts to wash them we can believe wholeheartedly the fact he did.
Let's remember we never said hoffscheister was stupid, he is at times smart as a fox, as he demonstrated in this instance. But who wants a sly fox in his chicken coop? Especially one who goes to great lengths to appear as a friend and good buddy, which is after all hoffscheister's accustomed modus operandi.
In all fairness to hoffscheister we should say he was not bad as a rug washer man, in fact, his work was far superior to what is done by little lord franses's longevity studio, a misnomer if there ever was one.
In fact, we are positive, many of the rugs cleaned by franses will not have their lives "longevitized" but rather shortened by the miserable processes they must be subjected to while in his supposed care.
As a case in point, we saw all of the Kelims that are now in the Jones Collection at the DeYoung Museum, many of the rugs in the Kirchheim Collection, especially the 'Faces' and Animal Rugs, as well as many of the pieces in the Christopher Alexander Collection before they were "longevitized".
We were aghast at the before and after differences and not to go into a long discussion let us state for the record the dreadful and unsightly surface de-patination all these pieces now exhibit is directly attributed to their longevity baths.
We say better dirty than de-patinated.
And with hoffscheister we say: If you do sit down to 'sup with him make sure you do it with a long spoon, a very long one.