Apropos our lack of interest in previewing sothebys, or the unmentioned Christies Fall Sales in New York, we spied hali’s efforts, which comme d’habitude can not be classified as anything other than agenda driven promotion.
Were it not for the fact this is has always been their modus operandi, we might chalk up the overly optimistic reportage to the ignorance of their new editor, ben aka jimmy olsen evans.
While it’s clear evans knows even less than danny schaffer, his predecessor and ‘mentor’, neither of them should be writing rug analyses for a magazine that claims to be the premier source for information about this art area.
Well, simply put neither of them has the expertise to do so and this fact, coupled with hali’s propensity to favor with glowing prose the sales of their advertisers, hamstrings their reports and reduces them to nothing more than unpaid advertisements.
Let’s take a quick gaze at this, their latest attempt to properly preview an auction sale, which was undoubtedly written by evans though we grant it is unsigned.
The first paragraph again contains a nod to reality (see our look at schaffer’s rippon bozwell report) though it is added as a rejoinder at the very end:
“The winter rug and carpet sales in new York are always one of the high points of the annual auction round. It is interesting to compare the printing of the two houses' catalogues. Sotheby's is excessively bright and colourful – if only all the rugs really looked so rich in the flesh! – while Christie's effort is uniformly drab.”
But from there, regardless of evans small token of truth, it’s business as usual – strike up the band and pump, pump, pump.
To dissect evans’s comments here would only waste our time and glorify them but let us demonstrate why we are damning and have damned, hali’s reportage.
After heralding the dubious merits of several wasted classical carpets and their unremarkable provenances evans states:
“Other likely highlights in the morning 'collectables' sessions include lot 3, a luscious Jaff Kurd bag face with deeply saturated colour (estimate $2,000-3,000), and lot 4, a Shahsavan cruciform design bag face (the third to appear at auction in the past two months), estimated at $8,000-10,000, although if recent form is anything to go by, it could make much, much more.”
Now please mr cub reporter when has a Jaf Kurd bag ever been something to trumpet and, not to diminish the touchy-feely tactile qualities the best of them possess, let us tell you the genre itself has had, and will always have, nothing more than a footnote in the bible of “collectible rugs”.
And wake up, benny-boy, to the reality the ShahSevan cruciform bag on offer at sotheby’s is a rather late, and totally uninteresting, example we hold some reservations about, re: its genuineness.
In any event, the 8-10,000 dollar estimate is way too much, regardless of the fact another similarly late-ish example, which was better but surely not a star mind you, recently sold at rippon-bozwell for almost 38,000 dollars.
No sorry, lad, its back to rug 101 for you.
The preview goes on with evans continuing more of the same happy-talk:
“This is, on the face of it, a strong sale, with plenty for collectors and decorators alike.”
While we will not take exception to the decorative carpet comment we will to calling this sale a strong one on the collectible front.
It’s not and only a novice, or someone paid to say so, would dare to say it was.
But perhaps the most ludicrous point evans raises is his statement:
There are a number of decent quality Caucasians, many with sufficient provenance to reassure buyers that they are not recent examples of creative over-restoration…”
Over restoration or outright fakery did not start yesterday, ben, and just because someone in the rug trade or collector arena previously owned one of the lots up for grabs at sothebys that provenance is as worthless as a recent issue of hali is once it is taken out of the box and the next one is out.
It’s about time hali recognized the emperor’s new clothes psychology rampant in rugdom and began the long hard tramp to change this sorrowful situation.
That’s it for us but we can not help mention, in this look at hali’s reportage, their failure to even acknowledge the now long running controversy concerning the LACMA/dodds rug, let alone weighing in on the questions surrounding the sale and, foremost, examining the substantial body of evidence RK.com has provided to support our contention the rug is a late genre copy.