Today is Thanksgiving Day, a traditional holiday in America.
Well, even though Thanksgiving has been celebrated since the beginning of America, its true meaning and purpose, just like Christmas, has been turned upside down into a holiday of gluttony, selfishness and disregard for humanity.
Sure, sure, the poor, at least those who stand outside shelter doors in the cold morning waiting for them to open, get their token turkey leg and canned cranberry sauce but what about the rest of the year?
Not to bore you all with such thoughts, we should just say it is necessary for all of us to realize commercialism and gluttony are not what Thanksgiving, and Christmas, are really all about.
Leaving holiday season behind, let’s take a look at a couple, actually, three lots in the grogan sale that caught our eye.
Maybe grogan is expecting lightning to strike twice in the same place? Lot 58, a Borjalu Kazak is somewhat similar to one grogan sold in his acor-sale, however, it does not appear to have the same over-the-top hydrogen bomb coloration, which catapulted that one into the high stratosphere price wise.
That former Borjalu Kazak was purchased by ebberhard hermann, the disgraced former German dealer who now operates out of Switzerland to avoid facing the music for his midnight departure from Munich, with his inventory, and many rugs not belonging to him, in tow.
There are a number of “stories” about that grogan Kazak purchase, as well as those surrounding the Tekke engsi he also paid a pant full for at the same sale.
RK has written about both these rugs and for those of you who missed out, here is the URL where you can bone-up on these purchases:
Here is the Kazak grogan will sell this time around:
“Lot 58: BORJALOU KAZAK; Caucasus ca. 1800; 7 feet x 4 feet 10 inches; A boldly designed yet softly colored early Kazak rarity.”
The auctioneer, michael grogan, fancies himself a rug expert, as he began his “career” in the rug and auction world in sotheby’s carpet department.
However, grogan, in our estimation, has a lot to still learn if he really wants to consider himself expert in this field.
”Boldly designed yet softly colored”?
Sorry, mr grogan, but your references here are as screwy as the mile-wide 10,000 – 20,000 dollar estimate you have hung on this rug.
It is a good one no doubt, in fact RK likes it. But surely its virtues are severely hampered by not only its distressed condition but, more so, by the fact a Borjalu Kazak rug like this is not really a rarity, well not in any sense that word is commonly used to describe.
Lot 58 is a good rug but to exclaim its virtues with such a dopey, and rather contradictory label, implies both the cataloguer’s words, those are mr grogan’s let’s remember, and the rug itself are being hyped beyond acceptable limits.
Now before we leave this lot, let’s all realize even if the rug sells within grogan’s high flying estimate or even more, that does not make it worth that price in the real world. Nor does it mean another similar rug would then be worth such a price.
Auctions, are like casinos, much goes on behind a dark non-transparent curtain.
For example, the former Borjalu Kazak and Tekke engsi hermann, the former German, bought at grogans are, as we have heard it, still with hermann, unsold.
RK can easily surmise that casino curtain we just referred to also might have been hanging up there as well when they were sold during the acor Boston event.
The second piece we chose for discussion is lot 65:
“Lot 65: RARE PERSIAN GARDEN CARPET, dated 1221(1806); 19 feet 5 inches x 7 feet. This exceedingly rare classical carpet was recently rediscovered in the Dining Room of the Back Bay townhouse of the late Byzantine Art scholar, Carroll Wales…. ;
Estimate: $30,000 - $50,000.”
Here, grogan’s description is closer to fact, however, this example of a Kurdish “garden rug”, can not overcome its rather late date and worn state of condition.
There are a number of earlier 18th century, and older, far more championship rugs of this type that make this one look not so brilliant.
That said it is still a remarkably wonderful piece of weaving and we would not be surprised, regardless of its condition, if the rug makes more than the high estimate.
It’s not really a rarity, again like the Borjalu, in any terms other than compared to what generally appears on the market these days.
Before leaving this point, let’s be clear here – we respect and admire both rugs but we do not agree with grogan’s making them into being the greatest thing since sliced bread. They are surely not that at all when compared to the best of the published examples.
Auction fever always brings out certain types (might we say this description fits the majority of high profile wealthy rug buyers), who throw caution to the winds in the heated competition an auction sale can stimulate.
But are the results from these sales anything that one can take to the bank?
Surely they are not, and that is our point here.
Lot 72 a fragmented Yomud group chuval, probably Karadashli, is no newcomer to the marketplace.
“LOT 72 : YOMUD CHUVAL PANEL; 1st half 19th century; 2 feet 9 inches x 3 feet; A stunning example; Estimate $3,000-$4,000.”
We have seen this piece on offer several times before and why grogan does not mention this is rather questionable.
It’s an OK chuval that we would date circa 1850 and not as early as grogan has.
Why, well for starters it has that derivative and too far spaced out look of certain mid-century revival Turkmen pieces we have spoken about previously.
The border, which we are sure most ruggies are mucho impressed with says nothing to us, other than the fact it is what we call pastiche.
Here is a detail of an archetypal Amu Darya region chuval, probably Beshir, where a truly archaic, and genuine, version of this amulet-derived design appears:
Frankly, we rather own a small detail like this than a far larger fragment like grogan’s chuval.
The migration of archaic designs, like this amulet found in the field of a Beshir chuval and then decades later in the border of a Yomud group chuval, is nothing usual, it happened frequently.
What is unusual is recognizing the source, as RK has done here.
More to come on grogan’s sale, stay tuned.