fool's gold "Transylvanian" rug that is surely not an "Anatolian Village rug" lot 508 , grogan auction
RK first met michael grogan, the owner of grogan auction in Dedham, Mass on his first day at work as the junior, junior rug man at sotheby's in New York City.
We don’t remember the actual year but this was probably in the middle 1980’s when John Edelman was the head of the rug department and mr duplicitous william, bill, ruprecht was his junior assistant.
The secretary was mary joe otsea and grogan was the peach-fuzzed round faced, enthusiastic
new, junior junior, member of the team.
RK has a number of funny stories to tell about these people but this is not the time and place for that –- read that autobiography we have mentioned before.
Anyway, our dear friend, and we mean that sincerely, John Edelman, never knew much about oriental rugs, something he will readily admit, and his being grogan’s first mentor doesn’t speak very well for grogan’s rug savvy.
That was a long time ago but quite frankly not much has changed about michael grogan other than his bald pate, as his knowledge of oriental rugs is not really very far above what it was during his tenure at sothebys.
Sure grogan went on the become the head of the department, as did mary joe, facts which do not speak loudly for the expertise sotheby’s rug department has or ever did.
But this missive is not about sothebys but rather the latest auction at grogan’s auction house.
To say RK is a snob when it comes to rugs might be an understatement of huge proportions, as few rug interest us – and none of the offering at grogan’s even come close. Most are pedestrian floor covering, some worse.
But this is to be expected, as RK rarely sees anything at rug auctions we would want to own, and very very few we would suggest anyone we know who is a serious collector own as well.
However, we know quantity and action trump quality and patience in the rug collector sphere so mediocre rugs, and worse, are often kited up to amazingly high prices.
We have not doubt this will happen to lot 508 in the grogan sale.
But before we lay waste to its presale hype and wet palm anticipation we would like to demonstrate why our opinion of grogans rug expertise is piss-poor.
faux at best so-called engsi, lot 507 , grogan auction
To a rug novice like grogan this is an “unusual Yomud engsi” to an expert those words are comical and about as far from the truth as a child’s hobby horse is from Trigger.
This late, conglomeration of elements, which in and of themselves are end of the line Turkmen ‘symbols’, do not an engsi make and grogan’s missed the boat by weeks.
Actually the design has been lifted from late 19th century saddle covers, made no doubt for Russian officers, surely not for any Turkmen warrior.
The pair of elem with those geeky, stunted ‘trees’ tell it all. Well at least to anyone who understands the language and clearly grogan doesn’t.
But the real evidence grogan is a novice is lot 508, the so-called “Rare Anatolian Village Rug”. Before we go on remember words like rare and unusual lack real meaning and are generally used by rug pundits because they do not have the knowledge base to understand the actual mechanics behind the ornaments seen on certain rugs.
And grogan's using them in connection with lots 507 and 508 makes this patently clear.
This rug, too, is a conglomeration of elements but at least here those elements are of an older vintage.
The grogan rug is neither 17th century nor is it an Anatolian village rug. To say so is nothing but stupid patter…hello mr grogan.
It is nothing but an early 19th century workshop rug with Transylvanian and Dimurchi Kula ‘symbols’.
Now then all Transylvanian rugs are workshop productions and so probably are most Dimurchi Kula. This is why RK doesn’t like those types very much. However, the earliest examples are noteworthy and well worth the prices they bring.
It is too bad most Translyvian rugs are not early or exemplary and as such they surely are not worth the big dollars.
Estimated at 10,000 to 20,000 dollars grogan’s rug will no doubt find many willing punters and we would not be surprised if someone ends up paying a lot more, like 50K.
By the way, RK knows for a fact grogan is a rug stasher and we are sure he has some good pieces in his closet. When will he bring them out…go ask him as RK no longer talks to him, nor are we interested in ever doing so.
PS: This was our doing about 6 years ago after grogan had the nerve to insult us in his office in a hissy-fit telling us we knew nothing about rugs after we disagreed with his idea about one of those rugs in his closet. That rug ended up in one of his sales a few years ago.
Just for the record, we have forgotten more than grogan will ever know and his dumbass calling lot 508 an “Anatolian Village Rug” is all the proof needed.