Home > Archive >sotheby's Autumn Rug Sale
Author:jc
email: jc@rugkazbah.com
Sat, Sep 23rd, 2006 07:53:42 AM
Topic: sotheby's Autumn Rug Sale

In reading through the mealy-mouthed and, as usual, politically correct blah-blah hali’s “senior” editor, hamburger danny schaeffer, wrote about the autumn 2006 sotheby London carpet sale, we could not help but marvel at both his inability to call a spade a spade or to place blame where blame is due.

RK viewed the lots on offer for the sale weeks ago and after great difficulty chose several to write about.

Why did we not publish anything about this sale? Well, quite frankly, we did not for three main reasons:
1. we are presently, and for sometime now, have been occupied with other matters we feel are more urgent than posting on RugKazbah.com
2. the pieces of interest to us ( meaning those that were neither ‘classical’ or ‘decorative’) on offer in this sale were hardly worth writing about and
3. we have decided because many people involved in rugs are tired of our presenting views that are counter to those of the rug establishment(of which hali is one of the main supporting pillars) and therefore incorrectly seen as negative, derogatory, or hostile, we are better off not wasting our time presenting them.

We surely realize those who follow, like sheep, the party line espoused by this establishment will naturally take exception to our positions because they are invariably diametrically opposed to that establisment’s. We also know almost all ruggies believe the establishment’s views are gospel and unassailable.

As an aside RK believes the main problem in rugdom is just this -- that people believe what is written in hali, and by the small group of rug scholars they treat like gods, is fact. This belief could easily be likened to the flat-worlders who, even after Columbus proved them wrong, still held firmly to their now ridiculous and absurd position.

So it is in rugdom and the fact that issues, like the dodds sale of that miserably late genre copy of a Bellini rug to LACMA or those blatantly pseudo-Ottoman embroideries championed by pacquin, acor and hali, remain accepted as truth, easily prove the validity of this position.

Hamburger danny’s ‘review’ of the sotheby’s sale has no more basis of fact to it than any of those issues and rather than critique his entire ‘review’ to show this we would like to comment on just two of his statements.

The first is the following:

“Jacqueline Coulter's autumn 2006 carpets sale at Sotheby's New Bond Street rooms in London on Wednesday 20th September fell foul of unavoidable but unsympathetic rescheduling that left it an orphan without the security of its regular October Islamic week slot. Daniel Shaffer reports.”

The rugs on offer failed to find buyers because they were far from outstanding and the rug market is weak. Blaming scheduling rather than these actual reasons is why we characterize schaeffer’s reportage as mealy-mouthed.

It surely requires little intelligence to realize why schaeffer needs to make excuses for this rather than to criticize the goods Sotheby presented. For to do so would not be well taken by an important advertiser to the magazine that employs him and neither would calling attention to today’s weak rug market find favor with sothebys or other carpet dealers who advertise there as well.

So even though these quite understandable factors influenced schaeffer’s report, it does not excuse his culpability for saying them.

Well at least not in our world or anyone else’s that is based on honesty and fact.

Furthermore, schaeffer’s then trying to be truthful in stating there was
“…a string of not very interesting Turkmen, Baluch, Afshar, Jaff Kurd tribal rugs and bags as well as Turkish and Caucasian village weavings…” is nothing more than far too little and far to late.

Nor, in our eyes, does his saying:

“And then there was a whole pile of 19th century Caucasian pieces, both flatwoven and knotted pile, representing types which would, a few years ago, have been guaranteed successes, but which are now regarded with suspicion in a market where, due in large measure to increasingly widespread malpractice, almost all such material, good and bad, is subject to enhanced scrutiny.”

mean a whole hill of beans, or even a thimble-full.

Let’s all wake up to the reality it wasn’t the scheduling or the markets suspicion that caused sotheby’s sale to belly-flop. It was because the goods were not interesting (actually very pedestrian as far as we are concerned) and the worldwide economic difficulties that are one of the root causes of the rug market’s weakness combined to cause buyers to avoid the sale.

In closing let us unequivocally state: Rugdom will continue to suffer and remain unheralded by the art-world and serious art buyers as long as the rug establishment continues to play the emperor’s new clothes scenario and to disingenuously make excuses for its failures.

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