Over the many years RK has been interested in, and collected, historic oriental rugs and flat-weaves we have seen and heard many stories that demonstrate the, might we call it, less than average honesty and intelligence those in this field possess.
These stories concern collectors; dealers, part-time and full-time; investors; passionate researchers and johnny come-latelys; big spenders and cheapskates; hoarders, closet-fillers and basement stashers; bedroom wanna-be dealers and internet ebay-maniacs; those who are knowledgeable and those so ignorant to never pass a rug 101 exam. They have all be subjects, protagonists and antagonists, heroes and villains in RK collection of histoires des tapis.
We have often mused over writing a book filled with the best and perhaps someday we will.
And although RugKazbah.com’s discussion board already contains more than a few, there are many others and today we decided to add the following online concerning a “Star” Kazak.
”Star” Kazak; collection mitchell and rosalie rudnick; Boston, Mass
The name rudnick should be familiar to anyone who has been collecting since the late 1980’s and 1990, as Ms. rosalie rudnick far more than her husband mitchell definitely wore the rug-pants in that family.
Ms. rudnick, a loud-mouth, squeaky high-pitched voice, small in stature wanna-be rug queen has a rather obnoxious air of self-importance.
She pushed and shoved herself with typical Jewish bravado into the rug scene in America, particularly in the New England(Boston) area and except for the now long gone expelled hot-air has left little to no trace on rug collecting.
RK met them early in their “rug-career” but soon after had our fill of dealing with an aggressive skirt wearing pair of pseudo-balls like those hidden between rosalie’s legs. Nor did we ever connect with her noncommittal Casper Milquetoast hubby.
The rudnick’s had plenty of money to spend and thanks to their wallet and rosalie’s intense ardor to acquire Caucasian rugs and become a somebody in rugDumb, they easily did both. Well, for a while at least.
But discussing their far less than interesting personalities and obsequious regard for the rugDUMB’s heavy hitters and big names is not RK intent or purpose, so let’s unfurl the flag-ship story of their “Star” Kazak.
Soon after selling their home in suburban Boston and purchasing a condo in the city, the rudniks organized a party at their new digs one could call their ‘coming-out’ in BeanTown, as Boston is commonly known to locals.
And naturally showing off their rug collection was the highlight of the affair. This, by the way, happened around 10 or so years ago.
Also for the record the rudnicks, or ruGnicks as RK began to call them, have been of late totally off the scene, and frankly we are sure we are not the only one not to lament their passing.
In attendance at the big condo party, to which of course RK did not receive an invitation, were a number of local, some out of the area ruggies, and a few luminaries.
In particular, a certain james -- aka jim -- burns from Seattle, Washington was a major somebody in the rudnick’s rug collecting universe and front and center for the festivities.
He and Ebberhart Hermann, who did not attend, were in the rudnick’s eyes masters of the rug universe and mitchell and rosalie not only immensely respected them, they gobbled up like manna whatever words dropped from Hermann’s and burn’s lips – something like if God suddenly appeared and started talking.
Anyway burns, in his accustomed master of the rug universe way, soon became the center of attention at the party, as not only were the rudnicks in awe but so were many others who showed up for canapés and drinks that afternoon and early evening.
Soon burns had a coterie of followers as he toured the rudnick collection hung on the walls of the condo, placed on the floor and put on tables and chairs for viewing.
Never one to be introspective with his thoughts, well at least those he cares to make public, burns proceeded to produce a running monologue of his ‘opinions’ and ‘thoughts’ about the rudnick’s “treasures” for the growing conga-line of followers tagging along.
Mostly burns, who is really not anywhere the rug ‘expert’ even on Caucasian rugs he is credited with being, praised and talked approval but as soon as he came face-to-face with the rudnick’s “Star” Kazak the mutterings and chirpings of agreement and Amens from the peanut-gallery of followers suddenly turned stone silent.
You could have heard a pin-drop, as several onlookers have told RK.
Putting on his glasses and approaching the “Star”, like Dr. Kildare would an ailing patient, burns stuck out his hands, turned the rug over, and looked at the back.
“It’s a fake” burns declared.
You should have seen the look on mitchell and rosalie’s faces we have been told – they didn’t know what to do: Throw burns out, start crying or what.
They just stood there transfixed as if their feet were cemented to the floor and their mouths wired shut.
As we have heard it burns then turned around and walked away from the rug like a matador who has just given Toro the coup de grace.
Needless to say this put a damper on the rest of the day but it did not end there.
First-off the burns was excommunicated from the rudnick’s circle of rug friends: and the rudnick’s, who did not know what to do that afternoon, sprung into action and sought the opinions of other rug experts to try and figure out if the top-dog in their rug kennel was genuine or not.
They had paid a very real 250,000 dollars for the piece, buying it from a New England rug dealer who had no shop but rather dealt from home.
We are not going to name him for many reasons, not the least of which is we like him and consider him to be a friend.
However, we will say either he was incredibly greedy and foolish to sell the piece, or he did not honestly know the truth about it.
Regardless, it is caveat emptor and the rudnicks were where the buck stops on this one as he, the dealer, had it on consignment.
We will gladly say who was the owner, Krikor Markarian, another name that should be familiar to anyone who has been involved with rugs since the 1980’s.
Krikor started in the rug business in the mid-1970’s as berji andonian’s rug restorer, and soon proved to be one of the best in country.
But soon Markarian left andonian and struck out on his own, renting an office close by and becoming both a rug dealer and restorer.
Rumors have it Krikor has been involved with producing ‘reproduction’, aka fake, rugs and RK can well believe it. At the least Markarian has restored many old, tired out, worn and torn examples to mint condition and we are sure many collections have a sample or two of Krikor’s work.
Fact is the rudnick “Star” Kazak big-time burns declared a fake is nothing but an almost completely restored and replied piece of Krikor Markarian’s handiwork.
And after much soul-searching, questioning of everyone and everybody, but not RK, this is what the rudnicks learned, much to their chagrin.
They did, certainly, feel this was better than if it was a fake, but really now what is the difference between a complete fake and a rug that is almost totally repiled?
The answer is an old foundation of warp and weft, but honestly this matters not. Just as whether or not the repiling is done from old wool or new – it’s still not original.
RK really does not know, as we do not speak to the rudnicks, but the saga of their repro repiled “Star” might well be the reason they dropped off the scene and today are nowhere to be seen.
As a post-script we might add when we first heard the story we did call them offering to visit and lend our expertise to the “Star” Kazak quandary.
This was before they learned the truth it was a Markarian repile job. However, after talking with mitchell and having him say “OK why don’t you come by” we never were invited.
You can be sure big-yapper rosalie nixed that, as well as the fact we surely did not feel we missed anything.
What this proves, and proves in spades, is rugDumb is a dangerous place to put your wallet, particularly if like rosalie rudnick you think after 10 or 20 years of collecting you know the score.
Honestly, it takes far more than a lot of water under bridge to successfully navigate the Saragasso Seas and Niagara Falls of rugDUMB.
It takes experience, a sharp mind, ego-less regard for one’s feelings, intuition and, believe it or not, a healthy amount of clairvoyance.
Clearly the rudnicks, burns and many other big time ruggies have learned the hard way how true this is.