(ed. Astute readers will recognize some of the below has already been posted here on RugKazbah.com, however, there is some new information as well for those following this 'saga'.)
The ‘Gunter Raps’ michael franses Saga
October 2nd, 2014
Everyone with even a cursory interest in antique ‘collector’ oriental rugs has heard, and knows, the name of michael franses whose father, three uncles, and grandfather Samuel, were all involved in the rug business in London.
What many do not know is the truth about franses, who has been able to hide behind a concerted smoke-screen of deceptive and less than half-truths about himself and his activities.
RK, however, does know all about franses and recently came into a trove of, from the horse’s mouth so to speak, material which displays this for all to see and provides further proof of what RK has long maintained about him.
We are organizing this information and will soon make it public, but until we do we suggest readers peruse a number of previous mentions franses has received on RugKazbah.com, which can be easily found by placing franses’s name in the search engine on our homepage.
Before we get into the new information we have gotten from the “horse’s mouth” RK would like to demonstrate just how far and how deep deception runs in the world of michael franses.
One of franses’s two adult daughters is a barrister, what Americans call a lawyer, who has a website where she has published the following to describe herself and her family
Her father, michael franses, is not the “former owner” of that rag hali — he is the present owner.
Now why would ms franses not tell the truth about her father?
Also her “great uncle” Victor Franses sold carpets and rugs in his gallery.
RK should know because Victor was a very special friends of ours, and we enjoyed some splendid times with him.
His son Graham also started in the carpet business and it was his interest in 19th century “animalier bronzes” which eventually became the main business of the gallery in its later years.
Both of them died too soon, but the fact ms franses avoided telling the truth about them speaks well for her being, like her father, someone who thinks nothing of rewriting history.
And calling michael franses an “extremely successful art dealer” is debatable. But what is not debatable is franses now owns that rag hali magazine.
One other questionable point is describing hali publications ltd’s activities as “coordinating and curating art fairs”.
This is complete nonsense and to the max hype. It does seemingly conduct “art tours”, well that is if you call the few “icoc” ruggie trips it has done “art tours” .
And while RK realizes everyone wants to put their best foot forward in advertising their “business”, going hog wild like ms franses has done is nothing but typical cheap, bogus rug dealer “going out of business” type bs.
It’s often said the apple does not fall far from the tree, and clearly jessica franses has learned from her father to deceive and distort the truth, and to do it to shamelessly try to rewrite the past in a vain attempt to erase it.
Examining the career michael franses has had in the rug business on the surface seems to show an impressive and noteworthy one.
But, as often things are, there is the behind the scene truth and reality this surface impression doesn’t reveal.
RK surely does not know everything; however, we do know alot both from first hand experience and from other knowledgeable sources.
Much of what franses wrote about his present circumstances in his emails to G.R. did not come as news to us, it did though confirm what we already had learned and seen with our own eyes.
Of course, franses’s surprising comments about his being employed in Doha by the Qatar Museum Authority, the organization in charge of all the cultural property including the Museum of Islamic Art(MIA), and those about people he has come into contact with there were unknown to us.
But for RK’s readership we are sure what happens in Qatar is of far less interest than what franses has recently done, and is thinking of doing in the world of oriental rug appreciation and collecting.
Perhaps this is unrelated but quite frankly RK seriously doubts franses is a rug lover or has the passion for collecting we have seen certain collectors and appreciators we have met in the past forty plus years exhibit.
Granted, individuals who fit this description are rare, and we could count on our fingers the number of those who qualify.
And undoubtedly franses is not among them. He is just a dealer who is selling a commodity to the highest bidder.
This comes through loud and clear reading what he wrote to G.R..
After all franses readily sent pictures of what he claimed is his private “collection” along with prices for G.R. to consider, and regardless of the excuses franses offered for his selling, he showed himself as a very willing seller.
Giving them a “new home”, wanting to let others “enjoy them”, selling because his family doesn’t “appreciate them”, or any of the other lame excuses franses offered up prove beyond a doubt his “collection” was just a savings account time has come to “cash in”.
RK knows franses is presently nothing but a charlatan pseudo-scholar playing that role to the hilt. Formerly he was playing the role of the big kahuna of oriental rug dealers. And while he pretends to have left this behind, nothing could be farther from the truth as his emails to G.R. prove beyond doubt.
And this role, as the big kahuna rug dealer, has in the end left him with little.
Sure he is again the owner of that rag hali magazine, which is a losing proposition; an employee/contracted consultant to the Museum Authority in Qatar, a role that according to what he wrote to G.R. he questions; and a failing rug business entrepreneur whose plans have all turned to dust and blown away in the passing wind of time.
The way we see it franses is more than anyone else responsible for the severely declining interest in early oriental rugs and the dearth of new collectors entering this pastime. That rag hali, its failure to maintain its position as a rug magazine and its futile attempts to turn itself into a “tribal arts” magazine; the demise of the nepotistic in-group promoting icoc; and the co-option of acor into the icoc orbit were important nails franses’s limited abilities to create something new hammered into the coffin the oriental rug collecting society is now interred.
The intellectually limited and almost always profit driven schemes franses concocted have proven dead ends, all of them gone from the scene except subscriber crippled that rag hali magazine, and we wonder how long it will be until it, too, vanishes.
By bemoaning his financial problems in some of those emails to G.R. franses paints a picture we were already aware of, thanks to certain of his confidents also being ones of ours.
We see it quite just this is the bed he is laying in, as he has made it for himself, and the old “what goes around comes around” saying holding true here.
The self-promoting regime franses concocted and shared with a small group of insiders, who benefitted unfairly from their positions in the icoc, destroyed that organization; the prejudicial editorial policies of that rag hali, which favor that in-group and ignore all outsiders, were both equally responsible for the destruction of the formerly potent oriental rug collecting society.
And for anyone who does not know michael franses was the architect behind all this, and again, we find it fitting he is reaping what he had sown.
RK is sitting on a raft of information about franses, all of it gotten directly from him when he so foolishly divulged it to someone he did not know, someone he had never met, or even spoken to.
No doubt franses was driven by greed as G.R., the fictitious uber-wealthy German would be rug ‘collector’ who emailed him, was just too good an opportunity to miss.
However and there is no doubt, any genuinely intelligent person would have wanted to verify who and what G.R. actually was before continuing.
But not dumbbell michael franses, who apparently is so desperate to sell his wares and find a good client he couldn’t wait to begin flapping his loose lips to reveal his “secrets” to a complete stranger.
There are several reasons RK has yet to release more of what franses wrote other than what he said about us.
Nor have we told the remarkable story of what weasel franses did after he found out he had not been emailing a super-rich German but rather RK.
To say franses is an idiot to have told so much to a stranger is unquestionable, and to say he is even stupider for doing what he did after the fact more so.
RK knows franses deserves the mess he has gotten himself into and we intend to show no mercy in making his comments about others in the rug business, his job in Doha, his inventory — aka collection — and his plans for his future in the rug business, public.
After all franses has been spreading the mistruths, lies and defamation he wrote to G.R. to countless others over the past 30 years, and RK now finally has the evidence to prove what we have suspected for a very long time.
In an effort to prevent RK from publishing the trove of information michael franses so foolishly emailed to a complete stranger, the fictional ‘Gunter Raps’, he has gone to extraordinary lengths, including trying to have us charged with criminal prosecution for blackmail and extortion.
These charges are totally frivolous and absurd.
Perhaps that is why franses threats are just that — threats he and his attorneys have not pursued.
Presently we cannot reveal the ridiculous ‘evidence’ which underpins their ‘case’; nor have we decided what we can and might publish.
One thing is sure franses’s case is a bogus as his daughter Jessica Franses’s website claims about his ‘retirement’ from rug dealing; her equally misleading statement about her great uncle Victor and his son, her cousin Graham, not being a carpet dealers and instead presented as “bronze dealers” which was at best an equal part of their business along with selling oriental rugs; or her being the ‘CEO’ of that rag hali publications ltd.
In the now stalled ‘negotiations’ franses initiated to try and prevent RK’s releasing this trove of ‘from the horses mouth’ information, RK offered to consider doing so if michael franses would among other actions have his daughter correct these misleading accounts on her website.
So far she has not corrected or removed them, nor has michael franses done anything to persuade RK to keep what he wrote under wraps.
This is just the tip of the iceberg, one in which michael franses has once again proven himself to be underhanded, a liar, and someone whose word cannot be trusted.
More to come, stay tuned