The crux of the matter here is not exactly "how old" the "Bellini" is. That is clearly something that will never be exactly determined.
No, the crux of the matter here is the fact dodds lied through his teeth to make the sale and those lies are what is known in legal jargon as "gross misrepresentations".
Let's review dodds's gross misrepresentations:
1. "that the "Bellini" dates to the time of the great painter, Giovanni Bellini, his use of rugs like it in his work and the example dodds sold is one of those pieces.
There is no doubt had dodds told the truth - that his rug is a later, genre period copy that has little if any relationship to such rugs (besides copying some of their design features, as all other aspects of his rug are inconsistent and different from them) LACMA would have never bought it.
2. that the "Bellini" is, in dodds's exact word "… one of the great carpets of this type in existence".
Anyone with even a cursory knowledge of "Bellini" rugs would instantly question this and, after some research, would realize how totally specious and untrue this statement is.
There is not one shred of actual evidence anyone, dodds included, could find and use to support this position. In fact, it is completely untrue.
Had LACMA known this they would have never purchased the rug.
3. that the "Bellini" was "...in dodds's private collection and had never been offered for sale."
This is also a complete fabrication because RK has documented many of instances where dodds offered the rug for sale publicly and prominently.
Had LACMA known this we are sure they would have never purchased the rug. After all dodds's "Bellini" was rejected by the rug market and no purchaser, except LACMA, ever stepped forward to buy it even at prices significantly lower than the Museum was bamboozled into paying.
4. that "The LACMA carpet comes from a distinguished lineage of reputable collectors and dealers," Dodds said. "Over the past 25 or 30 years, it has been published in exhibition catalogs and respected journals."
This is also gross exaggeration, fabrication and falsehood.
Fact: The rug's publication and ownership history shows exactly the opposite. The only publications were done by the former owners, who were dealers by the way, to try and sell it, or by dodds himself for the same purpose.
No publication of this rug was done academically - all of them were sales advertisements or favorable reviews written by its owners.
5. that as dodds stated "...the LACMA carpet is fully consistent with other carpets from this period."
This is, perhaps, dodds's most devious and duplicitous statement.
Of course, all reproductions are "consistent with" what they are copying but are they, in fact, actually comparable? The answer to this question is always no and here, in dodds's case, it is child's play to prove it.
In every respect, except some general design parallels, dodds's "Bellini" is different, both technically and artistically, from any and all genuine pre-18th century "Bellini" rugs.
Had the Museum known this fact, or done proper due diligence before their purchase, they would have learned this and never purchased the carpet.
These are all facts, they are not opinions or feelings - they are cold hard facts that are impossible to refute.
1.Prior to the purchase LACMA contacted three of the highest profile alleged Turkish Rug Experts to vet the carpet for them - johnny thompson, louise mackie and Walter Denny.
All three gave LACMA their approval for the purchase.
However, none of these three experts actually saw the carpet but instead made their judgments based on photographs. Soon after RK raised our objections to the sale Denny did, in fact, travel to Los Angeles and while there actually handled the carpet.
After this viewing Denny gave a lecture at LACMA and stated the following two significant points:
a. that he no longer dated the carpet to 1550 but rather "...to the period 1650-1750 but at the end of that continuum".
b. that the carpet was "...made in Ladik" and was a "pretty rug".
Both of these statements show that Denny believed the "Bellini" to be different and inconsistent with all other "Bellini" rugs (no other "Bellini" rug has ever been attributed to Ladik). Plus describing it as "pretty" rather than historically important
or artistically beautiful was nothing more than face-saving on his part. It surely is easy to understand why, since Denny needed to walk gently through the minefield of his erroneous first judgment. But, to his supreme credit, Denny did publicly refute any ideas dodds's "Bellini" is anything but the late, genre period reproduction RK has always claimed it is.
By the way, Denny's reappraisal of the dodds "Bellini" removed the egg that was plastered on his face but that egg is still dripping from thompson and mackie's chins. Eventually, they too will have publicly admit their error or, like dodds, vainly and stupidly try to support a blatantly unsupportable position.
2. LACMA did not purchase the carpet but, rather, recommended its purchase to a group of donors, known as "The Collector's Circle".
The now retired curator from the Costume and Textile Department, dale gluckman, used a dossier containing all dodds's gross misrepresentations, fabrications and outright lies detailed above to convince these donors to purchase the "Bellini" for her department.
RK is 100 percent positive had LACMA done their due diligence prior and not post purchase not only would The Collector's Committee not have purchased the rug but gluckman would have never presented it to them for purchase.
3. LACMA, to its supreme credit, has decided to stop trying to cover up their error, to ignore their mistake, or hide it away in a sub-basement. Rather they have finally undertaken the due diligence and investigation they should have done before the purchase.
It is now clear to them, RK and all who look at this imbroglio with unprejudiced eyes, the rug is not an historic example of a "Bellini" carpet but rather a mediocre, much later genre copy that had been rejected by the entire rug world for more than three decades.
This is the real story and the factual one - anything else, or any other view, is nothing more than more gross misrepresentation, error or outright lie.