After some deliberation RK decided the get in the car and trip to Stockholm and the icoc.
We chose to drive for many reasons, perhaps the most important we know how revolting airplane travel has become regardless of what “class” of service ones ticket entitles.
The drive was a long and boring one, 2000 kms, each way, for those of you who might want to figure out where RK is hanging out these days.
Anyway, to get to Stockholm by car one has to pass over at least several bridges and the picture below is of the longest one we traversed.
Øresund bridge connecting Denmark to Sweden
This bridge is a long one and, so we have been told, the longest bridge in Europe.
We arrived in Stockholm, checked into one of the conference hotels, parked the car in the garage and after finding a quite excellent small restaurant just around the corner from the hotel had an unexpectedly fine dinner.
At dinner, we also made the acquaintance of a pretty blonde who, after we invited her for a couple of glasses of Champagne, invited us on a tour of Stockholm’s finest bars.
We could not resist her offer and, listen up guys, everything you have ever heard about Swedish “girls” is true, so believe it.
RK has been in Stockholm several times before and we recommend the city highly.
For those of you interested in seeing some excellent rugs we suggest a visit to Peter Wilborg’s gallery where many hundreds of rugs of all types and descriptions are waiting for you to see.
Peter is one of the true gentlemen rug dealers we know and his gallery is worth the detour as the Michelin guide says.
Anyway, we arrived several days before the opening of the “conference” and spent them looking around and taking a good rest after our long drive.
Luckily we had arranged an invite to the icoc opening festivities, which included listening to dennis the cheat dodds’s opening comments(more about dodds later); alberto boralevi’s talk on “table carpets” (more about this soon); the two “exhibitions”, and of course the dealer’s fair.
Frankly, we surely did not need to hear that liar and rug-clown dodds talk, or hear boralevi discuss anything other than why when asked about the dodds/LACMA bogus bellini he so stupidly said, and we quote, "I do not know enough about Anatolian rugs to judge”.
And while we were curious about the two “conference” exhibitions we had already heard they were “weak”.
Our main interest was to see the dealer’s fair and what was on offer.
Another was to see some old friends, yes RK does have friends in the rug world, and to perhaps make some new ones.
Not to belabor the point RK was not allowed to register for the conference.
Seems dodds, wendle aka swindle swan and others don’t want us around…which is a wise decision for them as we have been and will continue to be vocal about the stupidity, chicanery, machinations, cronyism and all the other warts on the face of the icoc.
So it was only because of the invite we were allowed to attend the preview.
Front of the invitation showing a detail of one of the Persian city rugs in the “collectors” exhibition
Inside of the invitation
And while we had no trouble entering the building after about an hour we heard rumblings that dodds and company were trying to get us removed.
Entrance to the “conference”, which was located about 15 km from the hotels and center of Stockholm, a rather stupid decision
motivated by, we are sure, economics of getting the most beneficial deal for the icoc committee and worst one for participants
Since we had an invitation, their plans to eject us were thwarted, but this did not stop the nasty looks and comments some like dodds and swindle swan directed in our direction.
Listening to the duplicitous comments dodds and boralevi made from the stage about the icoc’s present state were almost comical and anyone who knows what is up would have to cast disbelieving glances at the illusionary excuses and nonsense self-propelling explanations they offered.
There were only about 250 people at the opening, but at least 20 percent were speakers and invited guests which made us feel about 200 were paid participants.
Granted we are sure others arrived on Friday and today but we are also sure they did not get more than 300 paid registrants—a real sign something is wrong in icocDUMB.
Anyway, the two exhibitions were “weak” to say the least.
In fact, they were the weakest and least interesting we have seen at any past icoc.
The local “collectors” exhibition did not have one killer piece of any variety, though that said there were two or three Persian city rugs, 19th century, worth a second look.
The non-urban examples were instantly forgettable, and we have forgotten them so no comments.
The heralded Turkmen “eagle-group” exhibition was also all smoke and no fire, as there were only about 25 pieces and of them only one we would have wanted to take along for the return journey.
Matter of fact, the only weaving on view worth mention was the 17th century Imperial Ottoman tent panel on exhibition in the lobby.
Royal Ottoman tent panel from the complete tent seized in 1683 at the Siege of Vienna, which then found its way to Sweden
Detail of the tent which is made of cotton, silk and leather gilt
Rather than discuss what we saw in the two exhibitions, and because no pics were allowed, we would prefer to once again offer some comments about this “eagle group” nonsense.
We do first have to say the structural identification work Annette Rautenstangl has done, and continues to do, is excellent and she deserves real credit.
However, the fact there are so many different structural and colorant characteristics prevents any real group from being identified.
Turkmen rugs are mysterious and, as we have said many times before, the only “Facts” we have about them are the examples themselves.
Studying them and their characteristics in detail as Annette has done is, in our opinion, the only way to establish data that is meaningful and convincing.
But since rugDUMB is dumb, and proves it at just about every turn of the screw, the “eagle group” designation is now careless thrown about and made into something it surely ain’t – a ticket to big dollars.
This leads us to the dealers fair which cost many of the participants big dollars to attend.
On the opening night, the only day of the fair or conference RK was permitted to attend, we would have to say sales were very light and we did not see any flashing of wallets or writing of sales invoices.
We also spoke to a number of the dealers and they were somewhat disappointed but hopeful the next three days would be different.
We join them in that hope as there was some good material there on offer.
Was there anything RK wanted?
Unfortunately, yes, but we did not even get the chance, and we were among the first few people to enter the fair, to try and buy them.
On the stand of Motamedi from Hamburg Germany were two top of the pops Turkmen trappings
The first, a large “eagle group” III torba, was a kinda old friend.
”Eagle group” III torba formerly in a Belgium collection
RK had been sent a picture of it about two years ago by collector/dealer who was the original owner. When we expressed immediate interest in buying it he told us it would “only be for sale in San Francisco at the Capri motel show”.
Since we do not attend that “show” we did not get to see it or buy it.
But we did have several people check it out for us and were told by them and others it was not very nice and overpriced.
Shows what they know, as when we saw it on Motamedi’s stand the day before yesterday we instantly recognized it and again immediately asked how much.
Motamedi said “Sorry it is already sold…
Same went for the even better and far more rare piece above it.
So-called “Eagle group” II mafrash
Here’s a detail of this exemplary Turkmen weaving.
This is the third time in our collecting career RK has been face to face with one of these pieces and could not bag it.
That’s the way the cookie crumbles and hopefully next time we will get the trophy.
Anyway, we believe there is more to the story of the selling of these two pieces, which we are not no at liberty to discuss presently.
But should things change we will be glad to relate what happened.
At around 9PM we were informed if we tried to come back to the icoc or the dealers fair the police would be called and we were “unwelcome”
What bullshit, but from the point of view of dodds, swan and others it is the only way, and a feeble one, they can try to prevent RK from discussing and publicizing their less than average, and in dodds’s case bordering on criminal, actions.
Needless to say, we saw what we needed to, had a pleasant time in Stockholm, met some interesting new ruggies and the next morning got in our car and headed back down south.
Before we leave this report here’s a pic of our old nemesis michael franses as ever excitedly discussing some new plan, aka machination, to put himself into the center of the rug world once again.
michael, aka little lord of rugDUMB(on the right), franses
We passed by franses several times at the opening and each time heard his squeaky high pitched voice pitching his new and improved ways to make rugDUMB put more dough in his bank account.
He needs a plan B as from the rumors we have heard franses has been summarily ejected from his former seat of selling Classical rugs to the Persian Gulf collectors.
This was, according to someone who knows franses well and dished to us, a “big disappointment” for franses and left him rather “high and dry”.
Couldn’t have happened to a bigger, more deserving, carpet-bagger according to RK and we look forward to seeing what other daft and dopey ideas, like buying a controlling interest in that rag hali, franses has up his cheap suit’s sleeves.
And last but not least a pic of dennis the liar thief and cheat dodds looking like he has one foot and several toes of the other in the grave.
dennis the cheat dodds (center)
We sincerely hope dodds does not die soon as we want to see him prosecuted, socially if not legally, for his disgustingly dishonest rip-off of the Los Angeles County Art Museum (LACMA) in 2004.
For those of you who have been living in a cave in Bora Bora, Pakistan dodds sold a mid-18th century (at the oldest) bogus, late genre period reproduction “bellini” rug to
LACMA as a “16th century masterpiece of the type”.
While we were mingling at the icoc opening several people came up to us and congratulated us on our crusade to make dodds’s action public.
To all we said “Thank you” and how about getting off your butts and instead of congratulating us privately speaking out publicly.
They all wimped off, embarrassed….so much for honesty and courage in rugDUMB.
We will probably add some additional comments here after the icoc finishes on Sunday…stay tuned.