One can definitely say RK is interested in Anatolian kelim and flat-weaves from other areas as well. We have been collecting and researching them for decades, and have a well stocked library of books on the subject.
However, we never purchased a copy of norbert prammer's "Fruhe Anatolische Kelims- Early Anatolian Kilims", the published record of his kelim collection.
Basically because it adds absolutely nothing to kelim studies other than a photographic record of purchases by a doctor turned kelim collector, who thought his money and an accredited advisor would get him "early" examples and a place in kelim history.
There is little doubt dr prammer failed on both accounts, and his failure is printed on every page of the 163 page book.
It long after the fact but RK has finally gotten around to reading prammer's book and believe it now pertinent to memorialize our comments, especially in light of our having predicted what a failure the book would be long before we had even seen it.
That was in 2006, and we refer interested readers here to see those comments
The advisor prammer put his faith in, Udo Hirsch, surely was far more interested in the short term benefits, ie getting paid by prammer, than in the long term ones, ie building a collection of real merit for him, and one deserving to be published.
RK has written about Hirsch, and our long time personal experience with him.
We quite rightly and correctly called him a Judas, as his unspeakable actions to put his greed in front of his honor need not be discussed here once again.
And there is no doubt his “work” for prammer proves again Hirsch’s predilection for self-serving actions.
In the introduction norber prammer does not disguise his ill-found belief his “collection” is worthy. “After a period of long hesitation and intensive preparation, it is now a great pleasure for me to be able to present my collection of kilims…Naturally, there is a large volume of expert literature, but you will see that many examples in my collection defeat comparison.”
Big brave words from someone who is, obviously, either blinded by hubris or 20/20 challenged. RK believes both are present in prammer’s case.
He continues “…I began collecting very conventionally with Caucasian, Turkish and Turkoman carpets. However, it was not long before I noted the simple archaic flatweaves of Anatolia, with their generous motifs and lively, strong colors had a particular attraction for me. This was also the period when very good and old kilims were introduced to the market.”
Notice he calls the motifs on Anatolian Kelims “generous”, a meaningless term mouthed by someone who clearly has missed the boat in understanding what he is collecting.
He also missed it by being on the kelim scene well past the time genuinely archaic pieces were available.
One could say he was years too late but, according to the prices he paid, surely not a dollar short, as RK has heard what prammer shelled out to get some of the pieces in his collection.
He continues “Without wishing to, or controlling it consciously, I slipped or, one might say, was drawn more and more into the wide and mysterious world of kilims.”
Or one might say prammer tripped, fell headlong and wallet-first into an obsession he would have been better off going cold-turkey rather than continuing to feed.
Here is perhaps the best image prammer paints of his obsession “It was not long before I was surrounded by dealers who supplied me with good pieces. Sometimes the contacts, which a peak periods took place several times each day and sometimes lasted late into the night, became almost a burden in addition to my professional work…”.
RK pities the poor, hapless sick, infirmed patients who looked to dr prammer for help.
OK, enough of prammer’s fantasy, living the dream he was doing something important and noteworthy – building a world-class kelim collection – rather than just bending his wallet to acquire one mediocre weavings after another.
Here are a smattering of quotes from prammer about pieces in his collection:
Plate One: "Contrary to the usually small kilims of this group, due to its size this finely woven piece was certainly used for something very special”
This is nothing but useless patter, and considering prammer is a doctor trained in the scientific method it’s even worse.
Size never equates with importance, nor does it convey anything like what prammer implies, especially since he, and his expert Hirsch, give no inkling why it might.
Plate 11 “This striped kilim was manufactured under the motto ‘simplicity and depth of color in place of pomp and garishness’. This ‘symphony of color’, meant only for everyday use, is composed with great feeling in a masterful way and is an expression of a great joy of life in which I have been able to participated for years.”
Discounting the fractured syntax, which implies prammer participated in this kelim’s production, his dopey mind-reading of the anonymous weaver’s thoughts is past comical. It only serves to make prammer into a kelim-clown pontificating from a circus midway.
We could go on citing almost every catalog entry with similar, worthless, far more than instantly forgettable prose.
RK did in our 2006 commentary cite the following kelim, and guess it would probably be one of the best in his collection.
Fact is we were right and it is one of the most interesting. But it is not nearly the major masterpiece prammer thinks, nor do his comments below explain its worth.
That value is not due to the lively "vitality" of the ubiquitous 'elibelinde forms' but rather the weaver capturing the perfect proportions and color juxtaposition to render them vital and alive.
And this did not happen "despite the(ir) differing size and irregularities" but rather because of these qualities.
So prammer is right but entirely for entirely the wrong reasons; something no one can call a success.
Here’s prammer’s commentary “This for me is a masterpiece of genuine woven art. The horizontally mirrored elibelinde forms impress me through their vitality and lively shapes. Despite the differing size and irregularities, the overall concept, with the brown, negative areas, is not disturbed. Despite its many colours, the kilim does not have a garish effect.”
If this is the best prammer can do, and none of his commentary rises above this level, after years of collecting, reading and dealing with dealers, any ideas he is a consummate collector, or even a well-informed one, are dashed on the rocks of reality.
To put it bluntly norbert prammer is fool, and a sucker Udo Hirsch, jurg rageth and other kelim dealers led down a garden path of illusion while pick-pocketing his wallet.
The publication of his collection is exactly as we described it in 2006 before we had read one word or seen any examples other than those used for publicity in that rag hali.
So now years later, and after not one but two “museum’ exhibitions, the prammer collection is reconsigned back to the good doctor’s closet where it belongs. It surely does not belong in any museum.
And long gone from the kelim scene is norbert prammer, other collectors like him, and dealers like Hirsch, rageth and others.
Presumably prammer is licking his wounds, and, now without the incessant calls from dealers hawking kelims, presumably he is spending time with his patients.
And dealers like Hirsch and rageth are onto new horizons.
But RK can’t help blaming all of them, collectors and dealers, for their stupidity and greed. They took an important subject, the Anatolian Kelim, and turned it into a personal playground and payday.
Nevertheless, the Anatolian Kelim’s significance is far greater than their petty pursuits and the few, true, early examples will, you can be sure, have another day in the limelight.
And that day will show the collectors, like prammer, to have been nothing but posturing posers and dealers, like Hirsch, nothing but carnival barkers who were only looking for the next sucker to bilk.