According to hali “Sotheby's sale on 12 October has a strong line up…” and, as is usual for the rug world’s best and continuous version of “yellow-journalism”, this comment strikes us as blatant advert driven hype. On our quick breeze through the catalog we spotted, what are in our opinion, an ungodly number of repros and outright fakes.
Here are the ones that jumped out at us:
Lot 20, a so-called “soumak bagface”, is the most egregious example and, were the business of faking old rugs not such a serious one, viewing an item like this would be comic relief. But it’s not, especially when the supposed experts at salerooms like Sotheby and skinners can’t tell the difference between a fake and an old rug.
This piece of tat, in our opinion, is estimated for 800-1200 British pounds and we pity the poor moke who takes this turkey home.
The next fabrication we would like to expose is Lot 39 an alleged “Kazak wagireh”, as it is referred to in the catalog description. This is another attempt at comedy. We believe calling this a “wagireh” is even more stupid than skinner’s experts attempt to float that word in his catalog descriptions. This “Kazak wagireh” is an out and out fake and anyone who believes it is worth 1,500-2,500 British pounds should not be trusted with the family checkbook. Just for the record there are a few real Kazak area weaving done in this torba size that have two or three medallions on an open field but this ain’t one of them. Nor is it anything but dumber than dumb to call it a wagireh..
Lot 42, a so-called “Pair of ShahSavan Bagfaces” is in our estimation, unlike the two preceding forgeries, at least something that can pass for what the catalog trumps it up to be. But, alas, ms coulter et.al. it also is a recent effort by some shifty “ rug-business people” to try and sell old wool for the price of gold. Figure it out, the 1,200-1,800 British pound estimate comes close to what they would be worth if they were, say 10-14kt. gold at today’s prices.
Pretty good business and one that might be better than the “new rugs for old” chant many similarly bent rug dealers have been singing for years.
“Property of a European Collector” is how the short description in the catalog begins for Lot 44 but, what would have been more enlightening, would have been a statement from this “Collector” about how long it was in their collection. We’d bet just about long enough for it to get shuffled to sothebys for sale. To say this is a miserable attempt to copy a Western Anatolian rug would be to grant it too much leeway, well at least in our opinion that is. And the 3,000-5,000 British pound estimate, like the rug itself, be only the stuff of dreams. We are sure this will not sell. If we are proven wrong it will only further convince us of the modicum of expertise most of today’s rug ‘collectors’ rely on to make substantial purchases.
By the way buying fakes and piss-poor examples of supposed Islamic woven art will never be a solid investment, as has almost always been shown to be the case when buyers who fall for rugs of the ilk shown here try to capitalize on ‘investments’ bought in fancy salesrooms or from high profile dealers. Remember dennis dodds and the LACMA rug?
The last of these fool’s gold ‘collector’ pieces we have chosen to mention is Lot 92, a Caucasian striped Kelim. There are a very small number of Kelim with an identical assortment of simple stripes, the best of which (not to tout our own collection) was illustrated in the limited edition book “Soumak, Kelim, Carpet and Cloth : Tribal Weavings of the Caucasus” as Plate Five. From our vantage point, it appears one of the very limited number of these books ended up in Turkey and, yes Dorothy, this piece in sothebys is, according to us, a reproduction copy.
We still own Plate Five, as well as everything else in that book and all the other books we have published (except for the pieces from the Tent Band: Tent Bag book -- for those of you interested in why those were sold we can direct you to the hoffscheister threads in the JC’s Corner Topic Area where this and other interesting stories about that book and hoffscheister will be forthcoming).
Plate Five has the most brilliant and magical coloration of any Caucasian Kelim we have ever seen in person or in publication – it is truly a ‘modernist’ work comparable to any Piet Mondrian or Mark Rothko painting.
While we are flattered some crooked contemporary weaver used our piece as a template for their “creation” we’d at least suggest for them to get it right next time. Lot 92, is a nothing more than a vague reflection of the original and, like all the other fakes we have opined about here, should never be allowed to masquerade as anything other than what we have claimed they are: Fakes.
By the way the 3,000-5,000 British pound estimate is likewise further proof these salesroom experts are either in league with the repro artists or incapable of living up to the “expert” titles they so gloriously parade as if they were for real.