In the mid-sixties when RK first started to collect antique rugs we soon realized few of the myriad of the so-called ‘collector’ pieces available for purchase were genuinely important. Most were what we now call airport-art with little or no real historic or artistic value.
The same still holds true today and when anyone who knows the difference looks in books, catalogs, magazines or the internet this paradigm is all to readily apparent.
But one sure thing is that no-one in the field of collector rugs, either as a buyer or seller, will tell you that publicly or even whisper it in your ear in private.
Well, you really don't need to be Einstein to figure this one out -- that is providing you able to face reality and not shun it like one would the plague.
Fact is, folks, most of the finite supply of 'collector' rugs comprises basically nothing more than a bunch of late period genre copies -- yes, Irene, just like that miserable pseudo-Bellini dodds sold to LACMA.
By admitting the truth, i.e. there are few real antique collector rugs in existence, the business of selling them would grind to a halt faster than your very eyes could blink.
When and if this fact -- a miniscule number of collector rugs are, in reality, genuinely historical and artistic -- would become a household reality in rugdom it would inevitably cause drastic change.
Unlike almost every other well-known 'name' in rugdom, RK would welcome this disruption of the status quo. In fact we have been lobbying for it for decades.
We do recognize, however, why we would be alone in welcoming this while everyone else would surely not.
Seeing their cash-cow exposed for what it is, a sham and a charade would put many dealers out of business faster than that eye blink we mentioned above.
Yes that's right, Dorothy, many well-known and 'respected' rug dealers are selling droll commercial copies; late genre copies; airport art and worse weaving made only for market and, let's not forget reproductions and fakes as art and history. Tsk Tsk.
But let's make something very clear here: The collector rugs we speak of are bought only for their "art" or "historic" attributes not for their usefulness as 'decorative’ objects, i.e. floor covering.
RK knows many so-called antique collector rugs are purchased for use, those are not the pieces we speak of by a long shot.
No, we are talking about real collector weavings and although there has never been any definitive differentiation of this aspect made by anyone in the rug market, rug press or in the rug literature it does exist.
Again by doing so, the truth would destroy the fiction that is so prevalent in rugdom.
Unlike most other ‘names’ in the rug world RK has no vested interest in seeing so-called antique collector weavings that are actually nothing more than floor covering sold as art -- we have no stock of such mediocrities to sell, rely not on selling advertising to those that do, nor do we ever plan to.
The rug world and most of the 'names' in it allow and even promote this situation solely for their own profit. This is clear and obvious.
On the other side of that coin how many of those 'names' really know the difference between a late genre copy and the real thing?
RK would have to reply few, very very few.
Ignorance might be bliss but is surely doesn't ever equate with good business or professionalism, two words most in rugdom need to brush up on.
Ok, then, what's to do about this corundum?
RK says nothing short of dismantling the apparatus that supports and maintains this status quo will affect any change.
And trust us on this one, fans, it will not be an easy or pretty picture in the making. It will, however, prove to be the only rational that might allow the great, genuinely art worthy and truly historic antique rugs to begin to get the respect in the art world, and in rugdom by the way, they deserve.
Surely this will be at the expense of many collectors and their collections of airport art; auction galleries with trumped up descriptions and over-dated guesstimates; dealers, like dodds and others, who have profited handsomely by selling late genre reproductions to the unsuspecting; magazines like hali and gereh that have allowed many of these dealers to forward their dubious sales pitches and lastly a growing group of internet rug pundits who couldn't tell a real piece from a new Turkish repro no matter how hard they tried.
Yes, folks, something is genuinely rotten in rugdom but it isn't the rugs -- it's the business and the fools who profit from that business that stink.