Back-handed compliment et.al., hali’s preview of the Christie New York(CNY) sale began like this:
"The New York Winter 2006 rug sales begin at the Rockefeller Center on Tuesday 12 December, where Christie’s Elisabeth Parker and Betsy Murphy have put together a small sale (just 130 lots) that appears, from the catalogue, to have some of the best looking and most interesting material they have offered for a little while."
Fearing the connotations of long and therefore choosing little, this pre-viewer nevertheless still managed to conjure long up. Yesshhh, even when they’re trying, it’s hard for this hali crew to extend credit to anyone.
That is to anyone, who doesn’t regularly take multiple double-page adverts out in their rag.
Bad as that permanent bias has always been, the now basically inexpert reportage we have lately seen about the rugs themselves makes it clear our well expressed opinion of the evans and schaeffer team are right on.
We’d like to call that twosome - little and large - for obvious reasons. However, little and less is more like it concerning their collective rug expertise.
Let’s take a gander at a few pieces the hali-boys turned their jaundiced gaze towards:
“There are a number of Turkmen pieces, including two white-bordered Yomut main carpets, one (lot 20, $8,000-12,000) with a very regular kepse-göl field featuring much green, and pretty floral elems, the other (lot 21, $5,000-10,000) somewhat less elegant, with a tauk nuska göl design.”.
lot 20 Christie New York
Young ben might believe his pen is light and breezy but, honestly now lad, if it were any lighter it would bloomin’ just float away without notice.
Come on, boys, you can do better than that, can’t’cha?
“Much green….pretty floral elems” -- how descriptively absent and rug imp-perceptive.
Please Note: The three staggered rows of complex “trees” are rarely seen on main carpet elem and their appearance here, on lot 20, and hali’s pre-viewer’s failure to even notice demonstrates our position to a “T”.
While their calling the other “less elegant” is an opinion once again, we’ll take exception, because lot 21 is an even better piece than 20.
lot 21 Christie New York
Although we’re tired of educating our competition and would be far better served to not mention anything, we just can’t let the mediocre and worse comments, like these, hali and others utter with impunity stand un-contested.
We realize Turkmen main carpets are not “in” at the moment with the small “crowd” of high-profile walking-wallet-style collectors presently on the market.
However, and trust us on this one fans, soon certain information will be forthcoming and the Turkmen main carpet will, like it once was, regain top collector status.
Therefore RK sees CNY’s guesstimates as cheap and, as many of you realize we are not afraid to make pronouncements based on photographs, we do so here and go on record without having handled either of these main carpets or the bags we will mention.
Compared to the rugs, what the hali pre-viewer wrote about the Turkmen bags was equally blasé.
“There is also a group of assorted Turkmen bags, lots 114-119, of which the most notable is a ‘classic’ design, if rather pale, Arabachi chuval ($3,000-5,000).”
Likewise, we would have lavished a bit more praise on them particularly this Ersari torba
Lot 114 Christie New York
Better to have pictured that in their preview than this tired and no longer lusted-for Arabatchi large format chuval -- ‘classic design’ or not
lot 116 Christie New York
We do agree with them about the "looks cheap" aspect of lot 66:
"…the undoubted star of the CNY sale is lot 66, a previously unrecorded 18th century rug with a medallion and outsize pendant design known from a handful of other late classical period provincial carpets from the east Anatolian/northwest Persian/southern Transcaucasian weaving complex, including two in the Kirchheim Collection (Orient Stars, 1993, pls.82, 83) and a fragmented example from the Bernheimer Collection, sold at CLO in February 1996 (lot 37).
The present lot is complete, being woven in two parts and joined, in the manner of some later east Anatolian Kurdish divan covers. To us, not having seen the rug in the flesh, the estimate of $15-20,000 looks cheap.”
lot 66 Christie New York
We are, however and we should immediately state, not so sure about this piece as they are (or we were about the others mentioned above) and, until we handle it, we’d prefer to reserve final judgment.
Maybe it is as great as it looks and they claim, with the wool quality and coloration we know go along with what this weaving appears to be.
However, we have seen many revivals and “copies”, so until we have seen it in the flesh we’re taking a wait and see position.
We will in theory write something about the Sotheby sale before it happens, so stay tuned.