There is little doubt the "Bellini" rug dodds off-loaded on the Los Angeles County Art Museum(LACMA) is not the museum worthy "masterpiece" he claimed.
Nor is it mid-16th century as he also claimed.
In reality almost nothing dodds told the now retired curator of the Costume and Textile Department, except for the fact the rug was his and he could transfer title to it, proved to be correct and true.
This is the crux of the issue and the issue is an important one.
There is voluminous proof here on RugKazbah.com to substantiate the speciousness of dodds's sales pitch, as well as enough art historical reference to support our position the rug is circa 1750 and not circa 1550.
It is also rather obvious LACMA has realized the rug is highly questionable. Walter Denny's visit to LACMA and his examining the rug in person caused him to change his position on the dating. This brought him closer to our estimate and much farther from dodds's original claim.
So far, louise mackie and johnny thompson, the two other people who vetted the rug for the curator, have remained silent.
Unlike Denny, they have not had the courage or honesty to speak up publicly and admit their errors.
RK has little doubt after hearing Denny's recanted dating, persons unknown at LACMA decided it was high time to do the due diligence and investigations that should have been done before the purchase of dodds's "Bellini" was consummated.
This decision was a brave one because usually museum's prefer to bury their mistakes in a sub-basement rather than publicly question and investigate them.
RK and everyone, who is interested in historic oriental rugs, owes a bit of gratitude to LACMA and to the honest and forthright desire they are now expressing to really learn the truth about their purchase.
OK then, what should we all due now? This is the question and answer RK would like to address.
1. Everyone attending the icoc in Istanbul should make plans to attend Dr. Mark Gilberg's talk, which will be given during Session 12: Technical Investigations, Swissôtel Bosphorus – Geneva Room -- Saturday, April 21@12:10 – 12:35; Authenticating an Unknown Anatolian Carpet at LACMA.
2. During the audience question period after Dr. Gilberg has presented his paper RK believes some pointful and intelligent questions would be in order.
3. RK knows if the rug world will take the time to lobby LACMA, the Museum will be far more likely to understand the importance of having a real masterpiece example of Turkish Village weaving in their collection rather than dodds’s pseudo, late genre copy of one.
LACMA has a very small carpet collection but they do have two masterpieces -- the companion piece to the V&A's Ardebil carpet, as well as the fantastic ex-Getty Coronation Carpet.
The reality dodd's dud of a "Bellini" doesn't belong next to pieces like those is a given. Rugdom needs to unequivocally communicate this to LACMA, as well as the fact we all do not condone or approve of any dealer creating such an outrageous charade of a sales pitch to sell a rug -- forget the fact dodds is the icoc chairman and perhaps presently the most highly visible person in rugdom.
We will all, in the end and unless something is done, pay for dodds's greed and deception while only dodds himself has benefited.
Rugdom needs a major clean out.
This is blatantly obvious to anyone who has read even a small percentage of RugKazbah.com, which is sadly the only place information like this is publicly available.
Time is ripe for the rug world to weight in on this subject; Dr. Gilberg's appearance at the icoc is the perfect opportunity.
RK sees LACMA’s willingness to have him travel to Istanbul to attend the icoc as the best chance we all have to see this deplorable situation put right.
RK is equally sure LACMA will welcome input from anyone knowledgeable and interested in seeing appreciation for masterpiece examples of Near Eastern weaving art grow. We are even more sure of its welcome if it helps the museum not only to understand what they bought but, even more importantly, what to do about it now.
And that’s a no-brainer as far as RK is concerned – send the “Bellini” back to dodds’s basement gallery in Chestnut Hill Pa. where it belongs.