Eagle-group, erroneously called “Imreli” by dr jon Thompson
Now RK has finished our Examination of Anatolian Kelim series we will finish roasting dr jon thompson in his own juices.
We will continue to demonstrate not only what a carpet-bagging charlatan he is, and to point out the serious errors his career in rugDUMB demonstrate, but also prove how thompson’s present and revoltingly dishonest back-handed writings on Turkmen rugs show him to be nothing more than a sycophantic money-grubber seeking approval as a 'classical’ carpet ‘scholar’.
The story of thompson morphing himself from a leading collector and researcher of Turkmen weavings into an obsequious ‘classical’ carpet lackey demonstrate what a fake and bogus individual he truly is.
It is RK’s knowledge of this situation and our desire to out those, like thompson and dodds whose reputations in rugDUMB are absolutely unwarranted, that has prompted us to reveal the truth and in doing so hopefully restore some reality to rugDUMB.
As we wrote in the previous thompson installments RK met jon thompson in the mid-1970’s and until 1983 had contact with him, though from 1980-83 that contact was of a seriously diminishing tenor.
In 1979 that decline in our ‘relationship’ began to accelerate; the reason for that was RK’s unwillingness to sell him pieces from our Turkmen collection, as we have already explained.
And since we have written about this already there is no need to repeat what we have already said.
In the run-up to the textile museum’s Turkmen show of 1980, and the publication of the catalog, RK remembers well asking thompson about the pieces he had chosen for the exhibition, particularly about the “S” group ones.
We were interested because at the time we owned a number of them and were curious how ours stacked up against the ones planned for the show and catalog.
“Oh”, said thompson, “yours are not nearly as good as what I have discovered in American collections, wait until you see them.”
We asked him to show us pictures if that was the case but never did he, always saying “next time”
Needless to say when we went to Washington and saw the exhibition and the catalog we did not agree with his assessment; perhaps thompson knew this as well, and that was why he kept trying to purchase our pieces.
It was during this period RK realized thompson was not the honest, passionate collector we had met years ago, but rather nothing but a selfish phony only out for his own advancement at the expense of any relationships he might have at one time honored.
An interesting story few, if any in rugDUMB know, is the story of the Eagle-Group main carpet illustrated above.
This rug is illustrated in Turkmen, the catalog of the 1980 Washington Turkmen exhibition, as Plate 56.
The caption says collection “John D. Phillips, Jr." which is only partially correct.
RK knew and was quite friendly with John Phillips, who was a carpet collector/investor living in San Francisco, until and up to the time of his somewhat mysterious disappearance and presumed death, in the early 1980’s.
His story and demise is not germane for this discussion so we will avoid any other mention of him other than in conjunction with Plate 56.
One day while we were visiting with Phillips, who lived in North Beach, San Francisco, he showed us the carpet to ask our opinion.
We had previously seen it with jim blackmon, who at this time, circa 1979, was a rather penniless carpet-restorer living in a yurt out in Inverness, Marin County, about 40 miles north of the ‘city’ as San Francisco is called by natives of the area.
The carpet wasn’t blackmon’s, and when he showed it to us it was in his possession for some small repairs and was definitely not for sale.
Trust us, we tried to buy it but blackmon insisted it was not for sale at any price.
Well, sometime later, when Phillips showed it to us we asked him if it was his and after stammering around some, and trying to avoid answering, he finally said, “yes”, it was his.
We asked him where he got it and he said he could not say and, when we mentioned blackmon’s name, Phillips asked us if we had seen it before.
We said “yes” and that blackmon had showed it to us.
Philips seems rather perturbed at this but again asked us our opinion.
We then said “is it for sale we’d like to buy it” and Phillips said “no, it wasn’t”.
We then told him we thought it was a great early main carpet and if he was going to sell it we’d like to have the opportunity to buy it.
He said “well, ok but I am not going to sell it”
Several weeks later we heard through the grape-vine that thompson had been in San Francisco looking at Turkmen pieces for possible inclusion in the Washington show.
We did not see thompson, nor did we try to, for at this point RK was not getting the best vibes from him and had no reason to want to see him.
Soon thereafter we heard, again through the grape-vine, that thompson had bought the carpet from Phillips for $16,000.
On our next visit with Phillips, who we often visited and talked with about rugs and many other things, we point blank asked him if it was true that thompson had bought the main carpet.
Again, as was Phillip’s modus operandi, he tried to obfuscate the issue and not answer but eventually on our insistence he did affirm he had sold it to thompson and was awaiting payment.
Remember all this happened in late ‘79 or early 1980, still quite a bit of time before the Turkmen exhibition, which was in October 1980.
So at the time of the opening jon thompson and not Philips owned the rug.
Where it is now we don’t know.
As you can see in the photo above there is a polaroid picture in the center of the carpet.
RK made that picture for illustration here by taking the polaroid and laying in on the illustration of Plate 56 in the Turkmen book.
Soon after learning Phillips had sold the rug to thompson we were out in Inverness visiting blackmon in his yurt.
We asked him if he had a picture of the carpet and he said yes and produced the polariod.
RK asked him if he would give it to us and, of course, he said no.
But when we offered him 100 dollars for it blackmon gave it up right away, and that’s how we got it, and have it to this day.
When we saw the main carpet in the exhibition and saw the wall label stating it was in John Phillips collection we then knew our suspicions about thompson’s honesty were completely correct and right on.
That’s all we have time for today but we will continue to expose dr jon thompson and his checkered career in rugDUMB.