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Mediocre is as Mediocre does
Fri, Mar 25th, 2011 08:45:05 AM
Topic: Nagel&Christie
Mediocre is as Mediocre does

The antique oriental rug "market" and collecting area for non-classical rugs is mired in mediocrity.

This is a statement no one, not even the most fervent hali magazine reader or icoc supporter, could possibly refute.

Why is this happening?

Why were things different 20 and 30 years ago?

The answer to these and other similarly poised questions is both simple and highly complex but boiled down to the most generic level one cannot help but place the blame on those who are running the show.

Great antique non-classical rugs are very rare, much too rare to make a real market and because the "market" for them is one based on commercial transactions -- buying and selling -- a tremendous amount of those transactions are far less than they are cracked up to be.

The fact the coming antique oriental rug auctions are filled with "antique" non-classical rugs that are not really interesting or important is nothing new, this also was the case decades ago.

However, the occasional great piece which formerly did appear is no longer there.

Witness the two "collections" that are up for grabs: the broido at Nagel and the risman at Christies.

These two offering fit the mold RK describes -- not one outstanding example mixed in with the fodder.

In that regard they are similar but, and here in lies the difference, the auction team at Nagel was smart and realistic enough to put very low estimates, and presumably reserves, on their goods while Christies rug department seems to have hit the kool-aid punchbowl too much and either drunkingly succumbed to the owner's demands for high estimates, and presumably reserves, or in a state of inebriation allowed their usual good judgment to be over run.

Both of these "collections" are mediocre to the max and RK sees little chance they will preform well.

Nagel's estimates are so low that of course a few of the lots will sell for multiples of their estimates but this does not negate the fact there is not one star among broido's "treasures".

RK met broido and has a good story we could tell to memorialize our memory but this is not a personality contest and we will forgo publicizing it today.

However, this is an assessment of the rugs he "collected" and for this we can only say broido's rugs are at best 6/7's on a scale of 10.

We know the pieces and would not want any of them, even if they were a gift.

Merch like the broido "collection" does not a real collection make; the pieces are mediocre examples, they lack luster and have none of the ingredients great Turkmen rugs exhibit and exude.

And the fact broido had been peddling them for several years, most publicly at the Sartriana event several years ago where they were not supposedly for sale but broido was 'entertaining' offers', without success demonstrates what we say.

Sure, sure the prices were higher when broido was hawking them, and prices are far far less at Nagels, but that does not change the fact broido did not bag any real trophys.

The risman "collection" is very similar, not one great example and because of the absurdly high estimates his collection will not fare nearly as well on the auction block.

We predict a dismal failure, and like we commented mr risman would have been far better off donating his castoff collection to the local museum rather than face the fact his estimation of their worth is both unwarranted and farcical.

Two auctions do not a trend make but they are indicative of a trend RK could spend many words proving.

It all comes down to the fact there are not enough great non-classical antique rugs to make a market.

However, the charade the oriental rug collecting community has invented and continues to believe -- that there are enough -- is as unwarranted and farcical as the estimates on mr risman's "collection" or the belief the broido collection is anything but an assemblage of mediocre examples put together by a bottom-fishing, cheap, sod who knew even less than his nearly empty pocketbook would allow him to buy.

Were thing different merch like that on offer at Nagel and Christies would not find buyers and masterpiece antique non-classical oriental rugs would be selling for prices commensurate with their classical contempories.

RugDumb needs to wake-up to this, and many other facts; however the clarion call has been sounding for years and the deaf ears, and dumb minds, of those in charge have so far prevented change, and in our estimation will continue until they take the dirt nap mr broido has.

It will be interesting to see what happens at Nagel and Christies but regardless of the results they will not change what RK has written here, and many times before.

Author: jc
Fri, Mar 25th, 2011 03:05:19 AM

We just read the jozandotnet review of the Nagel sale where this say-nothing comment about the red 'tree' asmalyk appears:

"To many in attendance perhaps the most interesting lot (162) was a rare red field ‘tree’ asmalyk that was in good pile with minor moth and sadly some urine staining."

Left unsaid, by the novice who penned this review, was the fact the Nagel asmalyk is the runt of the litter and, as we have already said, the worse example we have seen in person or published.

Also RK would like to mention for her and everyone else's attention: When more than 40% of a weaving is heavily stained from front to back with unremovable dog or some other animal urine that does not equate with saying there is "some" staining.

Plus the turko-challenged fräulein should have noticed the weave was unbelievably coarse and the articulation of the borders suffered as a result.

There is little doubt Turkmen rug collecting is now,and has been for some time, at the forefront and there are several well financed and motivated competing buyers.

However, their knowledge of the material is extremely limited and their eagerness to own rare textbook examples is only superseded by their inability to know when to splurge out and when to use better judgement.

This is clearly the case and point here.

These eager, but often ill-prepared buyers, would benefit from a little of the Kenny Roger song" You gotta know when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em."

And as a note for mr jozan RK might suggest getting someone less novice and wet-behind the ears to review rug auctions, after all who needs to publish such amateurish patter no matter how naive the audience?

Author: jc
Wed, Mar 23rd, 2011 12:39:45 AM

Last evening RK received an email from a peeved reader who complained about our take on broido.

In this unsigned missive the writer pointed out the flattering 'review' of the broido 'collection' that recently appeared on a website called jozan dot net.

RK does not normally bother to visit there, as when we have the rather naive and amateurish expressed opinions are not exactly what we would call interesting, informative reading

Nonetheless we pointed our sights there and lo and behold learned what an important collector broido was, how a "good portion of his collection was lost in shipment from his home in Italy to his family in London" and how perhaps when the missing rugs are found they will "be offered in a future auction"

After reading what an important "uber collector" and "passionate and dedicated scholar/collector known for his pursuit of rare and archaic Turkoman weavings" broido was RK had to do a double-take, as such a hyped flowery description of broido is both laughable and ridiculous to anyone who knew him or knows anything about historic Turkmen rugs.

Clearly who ever wrote this jozan dribble knows neither.

Nor did they know enough to realize presenting fairy-tales as fact is never a good idea, especially when proof is there for all to see.

The fact broido never wrote a word about a Turkmen rug, and his 'collection' is also as absent of evidence the man really knew something about the subject, makes the hyperbole jozan dot net tries to pass off both embarrassing and typical for rugDUMB.

There is no doubt broido was interested in Turkmen rugs but there is absolutely no evidence he knew anything about them, nor that he was an "uber" collector.

As for jozan's calling him a "scholar" we can only believe rugDUMB's penchant to attach that word to the likes of a broido or a gerard pacquin has trashed the word to the max and demonstrated the complete lack of academic standards rug collecting forwards.

There is a great contemporary American slang expression "opinons are like assholes, everyone has one" which perfectly describes the jozan 'review' of broido and his collection.

Reading what they published about the seven-sided red asmalyk that also appears in the Nagel sale both typifies why a website like jozan is not worth reading, or frankly even visiting, and how inane rugDUMB's opinions about Turkmen rugs truly are.

"lot 162, seven sided, red field, Yomud asmalyk from a private collection in Bavaria

Seven-sided red field 'tree' asmalyk, and their white field brothers, are rare birds indeed, however, this blotchy urine stained coarsely woven late, end of the line, mid-19th century one deserves little notice.

According to jozan "There are other good Turkoman weavings in this auction that deserve attention but are overshadowed by a seven sided, red field, Yomud asmalyk (“from a private collection in Bavaria”) that will most certainly fetch the highest price (lot 162)" and while on the surface such an opinion might sound passable in reality it is nothing but a butt-end remark better left unsaid.

RK knows the piece, has seen and handled it, and while the opinion it overshadows the rest of the sale is one we surely will not waste words trying to impeach we will say "so what".

When someone lauds an easily forgettable, unsightly and in our estimation ugly example of a rare group of Turkmen rug they prove how wet behind the ears, or perhaps between their legs need we comment, they are, as well as how unprepared and skilled is their reportage.

The results of the sale are not published, nor at the time of writing this, 5.35 AM EST March 23, 2011, has RK heard what happened at Nagel but, once again, we will not be surprised to see many of the broido rugs selling for far more than they are really worth.

Nor will be be surprised to see poor results, for rugDUMB consistently proves how similar it is to the reviewer who scribbled the jozan review – easily excited and prone to demonstrably proven incorrect opinions.

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