“For just an autumn weekend at the end of September, the old 17th century Pfarrhof (parsonage)… was transformed into a Turkomaniacs(sic) paradise, reports Daniel Shaffer.” This is how the hali “report” of the hoffscheister show begins.
And, while we formerly recognized schaeffer’s propensity to gush extraordinarily in his writing when he was hali’s editor, we have recently learned not only why he continues but what he has recently received from spilling such emphasis when he writes about certain advertisers or rug world-grandees.
This is probably something that is unknown outside a very, very tiny circle: All that gooey praise schaeffer lavished on robert pinner, and especially his collection at sale time just prior to pinner’s departing this world, has brought schaeffer quite a nice reward (or was it payback, as we have heard others suggest).
Seems pinner’s extensive library of books was “given” to schaeffer.
Now this might appear rather odd, and not only to us mind you, since none of pinner’s close relatives, or any charities, were given anything from his quite considerable estate, as the story goes as well.
There is lots more here but this is not the time or place to make what happened public. We will, however, promise to do it when we have the opportunity but now back to hoffscheister’s show.
According to schaeffer “A huge array of tent bags and trappings, as well as some two dozen ensis were hanging in the lower floor galleries of the Pfarrhof.”
While our tastes might be a bit above schaeffer’s we’d like to comment that most of these 2 dozen ensi were undoubtedly shown at the last ICOC in Washington D.C. Many are not very superlative and do not deserve the thickly spread compliments danny-boy is so quick to dispense. Nor are they the stuff dreams are made of, or are they to “die for”-- an epitath schaeffer puts so assuredly into the mouths of others. But not himself, of course, he'sagnostic.
Does schaeffer hope lightning will strike in the same place twice and when hoffscheister goes, which couldn’t be too soon in our and other people we know estimation, he will ‘inherit’ something substantial and valuable in his wake?
Sorry danny-boy but, unlike pinner who was a walking checkbook for some of his dearest ‘friends’ (more about that a some later date) hoffscheister is a cheapskate and tightwad. Well, except when he wants to make folks notice him.
Anyway, if the majority of his collection is on the level of the majority of those ensi, schaeffer’s gushing has, as usual, missed the mark.
We know for a fact hoffscheister has some great pieces but who would not have been able to get some considering the effort he has spent and the money he had to spend?
We’d like to add just a few more doses of reality to hali’s sugarplum review of this event.
“For many of the one hundred plus attendees, the true white-knuckle collectors of this genre (not all of whom are German), it really must have been a "Have I died and gone to heaven" experience. The diversity and quality of the collection, and the knowledge and erudition of the premier participants in the accompanying lecture programme (Elena Tsareva, Dietmar Pelz, Uwe Bauer and of course Peter Hofffmeister himself) and show-and-tell (moderated by the urbane Hans Sienknecht), went a long way towards restoring my faith (I am essentially an agnostic in the field of red rugs) in Turkmen weaving and collecting.”
We have called schaeffer a know-nothing and rug ignorant in the past and a statement like “I am essentially an agnostic in the field of red rugs” is truly telling. First off, using the word “agnostic” not only prostitutes its accepted meaning but, more significantly, does nothing more than present a transparent attempt to explain the huge knowledge gaps schaeffer’s expertise about Turkmen, as well as other historic Islamic weavings, has consistently proven.
Secondly, if he admits to knowing little, how valuable would his comments then be? We say none and you should as well.
As for hans sienknecht? Describing him as urban is about as fallacious as calling Little Red Riding Hood’s wolf a ‘cool dude’.
No, sienknecht is a greedy, poser whose formalities and oh-so-correctness is but façade to hide his greedy, possessive desire to own every good, and many not so good, Turkmen rug.
We have spent enough time with hansey boy and his bosom-buddy and ‘mate’ hans jurgen in years past to have some nice stories to support our statements.
One day sienknecht will have his day here on RK.com but it won’t be today.
Windbag schaeffer continues: “This is not collecting by numbers. The Hoffmeister collection shows a very definite bias towards the work of some tribes – notably the Middle Amu Darya complex of 'Ersari' types, as well as Saryk, Salor, Tekke and Chodor pieces. By contrast, the vastly prolific weavers of the wider Yomut family are noticeably under-reptesented(sic).”
More ignorance about Turkmen rugs is again shown by schaeffer’s school-boyish review. We will let the “certain tribes” comment alone but not the lack of Yomud pieces.
That shcaeffer glosses this over, tells us only one thing --hoffscheister can’t figure them out.
After all, the Yomud and their myriad of sub-groups are the most difficult group to understand. Clearly hoffscheister’s avoidance of them isn’t by accident.
Granted a veritable turko-dummy like schaeffer would not know that until he is told. So we have now put you on notice, danny-boy, don’t forget it.
Here’s more schaeffer: ”At the same time, he demonstrates a rather un-Germanic lack of concern for condition. There are relatively few glossy, shiny, perfect condition 'celebrity' weavings in the collection, but rather a mixture of graphically and chromatically beautiful pieces alongside those that are of undoubted scientific interest, many fragmentary or in distressed condition.”
We never disparage giving credit where it is due and hoffmeister, like some other German collectors, deserve praise for having finally come around to the collecting style we made famous—that is collecting beauty and history, not condition.
When we met hoffscheister, he was a rather typical German collector— condition the primary concern. After spending a considerable amount of time at our knee over the 5 or 6 year period we befriended him, hoffscheister’s eyes opened and he learned the validity of our modus operandi concerning condition as the last and least important criteria.
So we would like to congratulate him for seeing the logic and truth of our collecting habits. Too bad hoffscheister still doesn’t know enough to realize what is a good worn rug and what is a great one.
We haven’t seen his collection since 1990 and perhaps our comments, when seen in that light, might appear to be rather worthless. But remember, folks, old dogs rarely learn new tricks and while hoffscheister’s present collection is far different than what he owned prior to his having had RK as a teacher, we are equally sure there are still many lesser pieces among his ‘inventory’.
The last words schaeffer leaves us with: “And given his long experience as a specialist collector, Hoffmeister has been able to weed the collection, so that what remains really is quality.” ring especially hollow for not only is schaeffer incapable of providing the knowledge base necessary to make such a statement believable but his absolute propensity to hype advertisers and those favored rug world-grandees reduces his mutterings to worthless prattle.
We’ll end this with an admittedly arrow sent into the air prediction: Look for a hoffscheister sale in a major auction gallery soon. This, and none other, is our take on why hoffscheister mounted this public viewing of his collection.
Stay tuned for more on hoffscheister, the Tent Band: Tent Bag book and other juicy tidbits. You will not be disappointed…