Home > Archive >nothing nice to say? keep quiet
Author:jc
email:
Tue, Sep 22nd, 2009 11:12:43 AM
Topic: nothing nice to say? keep quiet

It’s an old adage: “if you have nothing good to say, don’t say it” but in today’s topsey-turvey times of idiotic political correctness and epidemic malfeasance RK suggests replacing it with “if you can’t speak truth, keep quiet”.

In that vein we are only writing to respond to the hype recently published on the hali website concerning two upcoming American auction sales – the first, and hardly a redux of six years ago, at Brunk in North Carolina and the other a combo sale of the cast-offs, mistakes and lesser weavings two in‘name’only collectors -- myrna bloom and William Eagleton – own.

Neither of these sales is worth mention for the goods on offer and that is why RK has thus far ignored comment. But when those mokes for hire over at hali try to play ad-writers instead of reporters, BS like the following needs to be set straight.

Here’s some and our comments following in bold italics:

“The week ahead sees two potentially rewarding auction sales of oriental rugs and textiles at widely separated locations on the eastern seaboard of the USA. First, on Saturday 12 September 2009, Brunk Auctions in Asheville, North Carolina, offer more than a hundred carpets and rugs, including, among others, some important classical period weavings from the collection of Tryon Palace in New Bern.”

Sounds good, huh: “important classical period weavings”? But, in fact, there is not one, let alone other, “important” rug in this sale.

There are some worn and tired out mediocre examples of “classical” carpets from a former “palace”. However none are true “golden age” masterpieces -- far from it to be sure.

“Two days later and many hundred miles further north, on Monday 14 September Grogan & Co. in Dedham, Massachusetts have a two-hundred lot sale of tribal and village rugs, textiles, costume and books from the collections of two individuals, both now retired, well known and respected in the oriental rug world, the veteran Philadelphia specialist bookseller Myrna Bloom, and Ambassador William Eagleton of Taos in New Mexico.”

The jury is out on whatever “respect” rugDUMB has for bloom, as for Eagleton? Had he not been a “United States ambassador” RK doubts his name would garner any “respect”.

Regardless, say we, were these two ‘collectors’ “respected” for their ‘collections’, expertise or knowledge?

Let RK answer with the facts: their “collections” are far from first tier and neither has, to the best of our experience, added anything noteworthy to rug studies.

No, no once more hali’s doing nothing but blowing a horn and cheerleading while pretending to be journalists “reviewing” Fall rug sales.

“Grogan & Co. in Dedham, Massachusetts have a two-hundred lot sale of tribal and village rugs, textiles, costume and books from the collections of two individuals, both now retired, well known and respected in the oriental rug world, the veteran Philadelphia specialist bookseller Myrna Bloom, and Ambassador William Eagleton of Taos in New Mexico.”

This is nothing new for hali, the hyping of certain rugDUMB events--always mind you ones on their agenda.

But what could that auctioneer of the bloom/Eagleton “treasures” be thinking by packaging lesser examples, cast-offs and mistakes of two far from “important” collections and end up with anything except a sucker’s sale?

At least the Brunk sale has a modicum of “pedigree” that might suffice for blowing BS about – afterall Tyron Palace has ‘history’.

That said we must add: Too bad the “floor rugs” purchased for the “palace”, by the way from some of the most “respected” oriental rug dealers of the time, were of such mediocre quality and unimportant historic content.

Fact is even in perfect condition the rugs from the “palace” are not worthy of mention artistically or historically. But they aren’t, and in the condition they are in Robert Brunk Senior’s “estimates” are truly in line with their “real” value.

Yet RK well knows the stupidity of the “rare” rug-buying public and therefore will not be surprised to see those estimates dusted in zealous over-bidding by wanna be’s buying pedigreed, shabby-chic floor covering for their 10,000 sqft mansions.

Nevertheless, left unsaid remains the fact only a small number of the 106 weavings on offer come from the “palace”, the rest are consignments from the usual suspects who thought piling on to this one might work for them.

Be this the case let us be the first to awaken them, and hali’s editors as well, from dreamy slumber – neither the Brunk auction or the bloom/Eagleton rummage sale will be successful.

As for their results possibly showing “green-shoots”?

Come on now, hali-boys and ‘girls’, were these two sales not chockfull of airport-art and mediocrity they might then just be a good judge of the rug “market”.

But RK realizes they know this, which leads us to continue to question hali-speak or that uttered by rugDUMB’s 'establishment'.

nuff said,we trust

here is the hali “review” in entirety

“The week ahead sees two potentially rewarding auction sales of oriental rugs and textiles at widely separated locations on the eastern seaboard of the USA. First, on Saturday 12 September 2009, Brunk Auctions in Asheville, North Carolina, offer more than a hundred carpets and rugs, including, among others, some important classical period weavings from the collection of Tryon Palace in New Bern. Two days later and many hundred miles further north, on Monday 14 September Grogan & Co. in Dedham, Massachusetts have a two-hundred lot sale of tribal and village rugs, textiles, costume and books from the collections of two individuals, both now retired, well known and respected in the oriental rug world, the veteran Philadelphia specialist bookseller Myrna Bloom, and Ambassador William Eagleton of Taos in New Mexico.

Bob Brunk’s ‘provincial’ auction house in Asheville achieved banner headlines a few years back with the extraordinarily dramatic sale of several severely undercatalogued carpets and rugs from the Foy Casper collection, among them the grandest and most beautiful of all classical period Karapinar carpets. This time, with the Tryon Palace ‘deacquisition’ of some three dozen pieces, Brunk have taken their cataloguing to the opposite extreme, enlisting former Textile Museum Eastern Hemisphere curator Carol Bier to help with the more important early pieces.

Tryon Palace was built in the late 1760s by the pre-revolutionary British Governor, William Tryon, and served as the North Carolina seat of government until the state capital was move to Raleigh in the 1790s. Unfortunately for carpet historians, none of the Tryon consignment has been in situ since then, as the building has been victim to fire on more than one occasion. The present offering includes several ‘historical’ pieces that were acquired from well-known New York and other dealers in the late 1950s and 1960s, but which are now for the most part in heavily worn condition after decades of use in public rooms.

First and foremost among these is lot 22, a once grand 16th/17th century Cairene Ottoman medallion carpet, worn overall and with substantial repiling, but essentially complete, provenanced to French & Co. and the Mitchell Samuels Collection, who were its owners when it was published by Arthur Dilley in 1959 (Oriental Rugs and Carpets, Pl.XLV). Estimated at $30-60,000 it also carries a published reserve price (admirably transparent, but rather an unusual practice) of $25,000.

Lot 14, over eleven metres in length with a compartmented design, is equivocally catalogued as a 17th century ‘Indo-Persian’ carpet, thereby neatly dodging the issue of whether it is of Indian or Iranian origin. With an illustrious provenance that includes the Dukes of Bragança in Portugal and Clarence H. MacKay in Long Island, it was purchased from French & Co in 1958, and is now estimated at $40-60,000, with an $30,000 reserve. Lot 15 (estimate 15-25,000, reserve $10,000) is a very typical 17th century Kerman vase-technique ‘shrub’ carpet, formerly in the George Blumenthal Collection, which was acquired from French & Co. in 1962.

The leading New York rug dealer Vojtech Blau was another significant source for Tryon, with acquisitions ranging from a late period (17th/18th century) Ushak medallion carpet (lot 16, estimate $20-40,000, reserve $15,000), through a very unusual 19th century Ushak (‘Turkey carpet’) runner (lot 11), to a Kashan pictorial carpet of the late 19th century with a menagerie of exotic creatures (lot 8, estimate $15-25,000, reserve $12,000). Other East coast carpet enterprises patronised more or less regularly by the palace included Leon F. Stark in Philadelphia, Serunian & Sons in Greensboro, NC, and Kent-Costikyan in New York.

The bulk of Michael Grogan’s sale in Dedham on the outskirts of Boston comprises a very mixed bag of diverse rugs and trappings (including a substantial group of Turkmen pieces), textiles, ethnic garments and books from the personal collection of Myrna Bloom, whose East-West Room in Dresher, a suburb of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, has been an institution in the rug world since the early 1980s. An artist and sculptor who began as a buyer and user of books and catalogues relevant to her ever growing rug and textile collection, and turned this activity into a thriving business, Myrna has now retired to Florida and is no longer able to house and display her collection.

The Bloom lots are followed Bill Eagleton’s much more focussed collection of predominantly Turkish, Kurdish and Persian pile rugs and kilims of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Eagleton, a distinguished career diplomat and Middle East specialist who over the years served first the US State Department, for whom his long career culminated as Ambassador to Syria, and then the United Nations, where he was based in both Vienna and Sarajevo doing important work with the UNHCR, is best known in rug-circles for his pioneering work on Kurdish weavings in Syria, Iraq, Iran and Anatolia, An Introduction to Kurdish Rugs and other Weavings, published in 1988.

It remains to be seen how these two sales will fare against the current gloomy economic background – we can but hope that they may provide our market with a sign that the first green shoots of a recovery will be evident. Certainly there are bargains to be has in both auctions.

The leading New York rug dealer Vojtech Blau was another significant source for Tryon, with acquisitions ranging from a late period (17th/18th century) Ushak medallion carpet (lot 16, estimate $20-40,000, reserve $15,000), through a very unusual 19th century Ushak (‘Turkey carpet’) runner (lot 11), to a Kashan pictorial carpet of the late 19th century with a menagerie of exotic creatures (lot 8, estimate $15-25,000, reserve $12,000). Other East coast carpet enterprises patronised more or less regularly by the palace included Leon F. Stark in Philadelphia, Serunian & Sons in Greensboro, NC, and Kent-Costikyan in New York.

The bulk of Michael Grogan’s sale in Dedham on the outskirts of Boston comprises a very mixed bag of diverse rugs and trappings (including a substantial group of Turkmen pieces), textiles, ethnic garments and books from the personal collection of Myrna Bloom, whose East-West Room in Dresher, a suburb of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, has been an institution in the rug world since the early 1980s. An artist and sculptor who began as a buyer and user of books and catalogues relevant to her ever growing rug and textile collection, and turned this activity into a thriving business, Myrna has now retired to Florida and is no longer able to house and display her collection

The Bloom lots are followed Bill Eagleton’s much more focussed collection of predominantly Turkish, Kurdish and Persian pile rugs and kilims of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Eagleton, a distinguished career diplomat and Middle East specialist who over the years served first the US State Department, for whom his long career culminated as Ambassador to Syria, and then the United Nations, where he was based in both Vienna and Sarajevo doing important work with the UNHCR, is best known in rug-circles for his pioneering work on Kurdish weavings in Syria, Iraq, Iran and Anatolia, An Introduction to Kurdish Rugs and other Weavings, published in 1988.

It remains to be seen how these two sales will fare against the current gloomy economic background – we can but hope that they may provide our market with a sign that the first green shoots of a recovery will be evident. Certainly there are bargains to be has in both auctions."

Author: jc
email:
Tue, Sep 22nd, 2009 11:12:43 AM

The prices from the bloom/Eagleton auction were finally posted on Sunday and they demonstrate all that RK wrote -- disaster.

Sure, sure if bloom or Eagleton were desperately wanting to sell some of their cast-offs and mistakes they accomplished that. But RK might say so what, as the prices were commensurate with the quality, ie poor and low.

Perhaps the auctioneer learned a lesson?

One thing is sure: It's way too late for either bloom or Eagleton to learn anything other than what a piss-poor idea it is to buy mediocre "collector" rugs and, even worse, to believe a "collection" made of such fodder is important or will bring good prices at public auction.

Clearly it won't, and that's been RK's position for as long as we are collecting -- buy the best and forget about the rest.

And we're pretty sure both bloom, Eagleton, and maybe even the auctioneer as well, all know this now.

Might beter late than never be their only consolation?

Author: jc
email:
Thu, Sep 17th, 2009 09:37:03 AM

It's now several days since the bloom/Eagleton auction but the prices realized at the sale have yet to be made public.

The obvious answer to why this is the case seems to us to be the fact the auction was a failure.

Frankly, we are surprised anyone with even a rudimentary knowledge of antique carpets and the present marketplace would have thought differently.

We surely didn't, as our pre-auction comments demonstrate.

Clearly the auctioneer, michael grogan, not only goofed by staging the auction but, more obviously, by hyping the mediocrities, cast-offs and mistakes from the bloom/Eagleton collections as anything but that which they truly were/are.

So here's another tidbit of advice for grogan: Post the prices, face the fact the auction was poorly conceived and remember just because you have been successful in the past in selling similar airport-art weavings masquerading as 'collector' rugs those days are over. And, let us, add they will not return, well, not at least in all our lifetimes.

Just one additional quick comment from RK about grogan: As far as we are concerned grogan, like rippon boswell's maltzahn and sotheby's otsea, is, at best, a journeyman as far as his rug expertise goes -- grogan has proven over and again he is nothing but a semi-knowledgeable ruggie whose over-rated opinion of his own rug expertise is as hyped as the airport-art and worse he attempted to peddle, and peddle unsuccessfully, at this sale.

Author: jc
email:
Tue, Sep 15th, 2009 03:07:18 PM

Today, instead of posting the prices realized at the sale, michael grogan the auctioneer posted the following "report" about the sale:

"RUG AND TEXTILE AUCTION FEATURES TWO PRIVATE COLLECTIONS

September 14, 2009: Grogan & Company kicked off the Fall season with the sale of two private rug collections. The first, a collection of Rugs, Textiles and Books from artist and book dealer Myrna Bloom's private collection and the second, a collection of Kurdish Rugs and Weavings from Ambassador and Mrs. WilliamEagleton's private collection.

Highlights of the Bloom collection included a Fine Bidjar Carpet, which sold for $6,900; a mid 19th century Turkmen Embroidered Yellow Ground Chyrpy, which brought $4,887.50 and a Turkoman Tent Band, which acheived $3,450. Myran Bloom began studying Oriental rugs in 1969, after trading one of her paintings to a well-known rug dealer in her home town of Philadelphia for a “collector” rug. Her collection quickly expanded to include textiles and clothing from the Islamic world to the Far East. Bloom expanded began her book selling business, The EAST-WEST ROOM, in 1980. Over the years, Myrna has exhibited her collection and given several lectures for such organizations as the International Questers, The New York Rug Society, the First International Rug Convention and The Textile Museum of Washington D.C. She has written and contributed to several articles for periodicals including Hali Magazine, Oriental Rug Review and the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Highlights of the Eagleton collections included a Karapinar Rug, Tureky, cica 1900, which sold for $1,840 and a Yuruk Runner, Turkey, circa 900, which brought $1,840. Ambassador William Eagleton, one of the State Departments specialists on the Middle East, has distinguished his career both in the Foreign Service and with the United Nations. In addition to his diplomatic accomplishments, Ambassador Eagleton is a highly respected specialist on the subject of Kurdish Culture and Rugs. He published two books including The Kurdish Republic of 1946 and Kurdish Rugs and Other Weavings.:

Just a small bit of advice for mr grogan: no matter how much you try to kite the illustriousness of the two "collectors" consigners fact remains the goods they gave you -- their lesser rugs and mistakes -- were nothing but airport-art and worse.

So quit braying about Eagleton's career, or bloom's longtime rug wanna-be status, and get smart. Times are a changing and crapola mediocrities like your sale contained, no matter how well "marketed" will never again find buyers at any price level other than the lowest.

Your sale proved that, grogan, but any astute observer should/would have known that long before the evening of Sept 14th.

Next time give us a call and we will be glad for FREE to help you see the difference between crapola airport-art weavings and ones that are deserving of promotion.

RK would also like to ask if the reason you have not yet posted the prices realized is because they were so disappointing?

Author: jc
email:
Mon, Sep 14th, 2009 09:28:55 AM

Well just as we predicted, and we are not surprised, some less than, what should we say, knowledgeable buyers clearly could not wait to wave their paddles, or keyboards, in the air at Brunk's this weekend.

That said RK has to mention, just as clearly, there were not many of them, as the prices for the better pieces did not achieve meteoric results. But the prices were, in our humble opinion, still way to high for not stellar examples in poor to miserable condition they went after.

The big nuke, the touted piece an Ottoman Cairene rug, made $74,000 which is not exactly chump-change. However, had it been a stellar, best of type example it would have surely made a multiple of that price, even in the piss-poor condition it came to Brunk in.

Naturally, there were several other similar lots which would have sold far higher had they been either better of their type examples or in better condition.

RK has learned the buyers of antique/historic rugs, at least those that appear to be, are not terribly discerning or astute. Were they a miserably mediocre trashed Cairene long rug would never make $74,000, even with a dollar that is declining daily against all other currencies.

RK knows well you can't fight city-hall to change perceptions, like those held or at least publicly expressed by rugDUMB's head honchos, and these folks will continue to pay too much for mediocre weavings.

To call the Brunk sale a success would be just as foolish as calling it a failure. Fact is it was a success at selling mediocrities and selling them for decent prices.

Fact also is it was a failure -- a failure of rugDUMB to differentiate between rugs that have historic merit and those that are merely commercially produced articles of floor-covering.

Fact is regardless if that floor-covering is 100 or 300 years old, it is still floor-covering and not art or history -- and RK suggests buyers at Brunk, as well as everyone else whether you inhabit rugdom or rugDUMB, remember no matter how many bray to the contrary art history has a way of sorting out the bullshit from the truth, and Lord Knows rugDUMB is long overdue for such an assessment.

Home   Buy/Sell at the Kazbah   Terms Of Service