Yesterday was a pretty interesting day on the net for ruggies.
Besides our pointing the brutal finger of reality at price=clown’s many failures to do anything other than vacillating between playing the strongman and crying the ad hominem blues, hali finally took their best shot at reviewing the acor dealer’s row fair.
Rumor has it a second installment is in the wings but after part one, that was long on wind but short on expertise, we wonder why they should even bother.
Perhaps last year or even earlier in this we’d have written more but, honestly, were there not a number of errors and their business as usual rose-colored glasses reportage on what was on offer, we’d not have even bothered.
However, we realize our readers come here for reality checks so, therefore, let’s set the record straight, albeit with very limited degree of commentary, most of which centers on an issue that is a major pet peeve of our -- overdating.
There were examples of this other than the two we chose but we felt these were the two most egregious -- the first of which was this provincial Ottoman embroidered bokche:
We are not surprised the seller dated his piece a century or so too early – that’s to be expected, not only from him but many other dealers as well.
Had the hali reviewer not fallen for this hook, line and sinker we’d never bother to write about the piece or it’s seriously exaggerated dating.
But since hali is supposedly dutied to provide expert coverage -- notice we say supposed to as nowadays they rarely accomplish that mission – we are not going to stand by and watch a dealer’s erroneous dating be reinforced by hali’s rug-ignorant reviewer and her neophyte editor.
We spoke to the owner and was told this was a cover for a turban and while his spiel sounded credible we still came away shaking our head and wondering why not just leave it as a bokche?
Let us mention the review was credited to a Lucy Upward who, we presume, has recently been bumped-up from some lower perch into that role.
We could care less about the musical chairs and employee shiftings hali has been engaging in since last summer, which began when schaeffer was retired from the editor’s swivel chair.
But we would suggest, since their present lineup shows little promise or expertise, their controllers to get rid of the entire team, including fat boy schaeffer, and woo marcuson back with whatever it would take to do that.
At least he knew something about rugs and textiles, a faculty schaeffer and company prove over and over, time and again, they hardly have a grip on.
The hali team is more adept than professor clown’s bunch but that’s not saying very much, now is it.
But we digress, so let’s return to the embroidery that was, incidentally, hanging on the stand of the affable senor zia bozoglu from Perugia, Italy.
In our estimation, it is nothing more than a nice 200 year old, at best, provincial bokche in quite outstanding nick (i.e. good condition). But circa 1700 it ain’t and you can bet the farm on that one, sweetpea.
It is unusual in design, fine in weave with pretty but not fabulous color and we genuinely liked it.
But circa 1700 is wishful thinking and we would place it sometime in the early part of the first quarter of the 19th century.
We do understand the dating game and are not really criticizing bozoglu for playing it and attempting to gild the lily.
We do place some heavy blame on hali for their inability to realize this and, worse, for continuing the charade.
Dealers will always over-date their goods – that’s a given in this field – but when the dating game is kited up past acceptable limits it deserves to be exposed.
While bozoglu and hali’s error is bad, it looks very innocent in comparison to the fantasy dating dodds almost got away with in what we have named the LACMA “bellini” rug debacle.
Calling what we have characterized as a dud of a rug mid-16th century alone earned dodds the dumb bastard of the year award, regardless of his other questionable and worse curatorial, fiduciary and commercial activities.
But we digress again so back to the hali review we go (sorry for these digressions but rugdom is so full of crapola it’s hard to stay on track).
The second and even more serious lapse of expertise came when juicy Lucy, as we have heard her referred to by some horny wannabe rug-selling suitors, swooned the light fantastic over this cutesy fragment:
Beam us up Scotty – there’s no life down here, at least none that can tell a circa 1800, at best, rug fragment from a circa 1600 one.
Yup, that’s the date the seller, one david lantz who is a former restorer and wannabe kelim expert from New York, hung on it.
And, right on time, Lucy girl once again fell for the bait. Too bad she doesn’t have a fat checkbook because had she we’re sure she’d have been the darlin’ of not only those who admired her alleged pulchritude.
RK has never laid eyes on her so we can’t confirm this but we did spy both bozoglu and lantz’s seriously over-dated pieces.
The reality lantz’s fragmento was made circa 1600 hasn’t the proverbial snowball chance in hell of being correct, regardless or not as to whether lantz sought a certificate of carbon-dating done by Dr. Georges Bonani of Zurich.
We believe in the process of C14 analysis, we just don’t believe the procedure is anything other than chancy for most oriental rugs. But we are not going to open, once again, that can of squiggling worms here and now.
Our audience knows we have high, no wait very high, standards -- our taste for rugs being epicurean – so we could not in good faith describe the goods on offer at the fair in the glowing terms Ms. Upward has.
That being the case we do agree, considering the level of goods floating through the marketplace and at auction lately, what was on offer in Boston was often on a far higher level and we congratulate most of the dealers for bringing many, more than worthwhile, examples for the acor attendees.
We know well how hard it is to find and keep excellent pieces around and we are sure had there not been two auctions timed to vacuum up any spare dollars the sound of ringing cash register bells would have been far more frequently heard.
We urge our readers to visit the hali website to get a dose of the acor dealer fair happy talk and the less than expert commentary rugdom’s very own
Master’s voice Victrola, aka hali magazine, drones on 24/7 day and night.