Rudnick, a name that is probably familar to most ruggies will perhaps be even more so thanks to their decision to sell the collection assembled from the middle 1980's on by this married couple.
The ruGnicks, as RK liked to call them, were along with another gruesome twosome -- marshall and marilyn wolf -- the fortunate possessors of an inherited fat wallet and two noggins that decidedly lacked real oriental carpet collecting expertise. The rugnick collection demonstrates this well.
While there is nothing inherently bad about their 19th century. early-middle-but-surely-not-late, Caucasian pile rugs neither is there anything particularly great.
Way back before then these rugs were highly sought after by 'collectors'. However, since the beginning of the 1980's, when far earlier weavings started to dribble out of Turkey and into European and American collector's hands, they were eclipsed.
And well eclipsed they eventually became in the eyes of those aware enough to see how poorly 19th century Caucasian rugs stacked up against these earlier weavings. Now, they actually are passť among almost all top collectors, but the furnishing market continues and if the stars align will kite a few of the rugnick lots to double and triple estimates. Maybe more, but don't hold your breath.
However, had the rugnicks sold their collection before they made it, that sale would have been wildly successful. Of course RK is being facetious, for how could someone sell something before they owned it?
We are not off the money, or being pejorative in stating the rugnicks were far removed from the cutting edge of rug colleting. Had they not been the collection they could have formed would be hotly contested at auction today. Too bad they missed that boat.
Back to facts: The market place for the weavings they are selling has diminished both in numbers of possible buyers and their desire to own such weavings.
Granted, the estimated prices are reasonable, but probably half of what they actually paid. And we all know estimates, especially low ones, are nothing but come-ons to stimulate buyer interest. Sale day will tell the real story.
We are sure the sale will have a good percentage, surely 75% sold, but the prices will be around the estimates. This translates into a loss for the rugnicks. The big winner will be the auctioneer, regardless of the 'deal' the rugnicks got for bringing the sale to him.
We would be amiss to claim there are not some good, a few very good, 19th century Caucasian rugs on offer BUT there are hardly any best of type masterpieces. Well, besides two lots which we will not discuss until our post sale comments. Or right now with anyone who wants to pay for our expertise, no more freebies from RK.
Perhaps, the most telling and interesting part of this dispersal sale's back story is the missing 'famous' star Kazak the rugnicks bought for a rumored 250,000 dollars. Why is it not being sold?
In our view: This is a good idea since the rug has been thoroughly tainted by the truth -- it is a totally over-restored confection the rugnicks stupidly purchased believing they were getting the real thing.
RK has written about it several times and readers unfamiliar with what we wrote can do so here. It is titled "A No Star Star Kazak"
The scuttle-butt rumor going around New England rug collecting circles is "...because it was rosalie's favorite rug and she is incapicated with Alzheimers Disease mitchell decided to keep it."
Regardless of such sticky sentiment fact is trying to sell it as the real thing for even half of what they paid would fail miserably, and worse cast a rotten odor over the auction because it ain't the real thing.
And admitting it is an overly restored, who knows what it originally looked like quasi-reproduction would call into question the supposed carpet collecting expertise the rugnicks laughably have been accorded.
One more comment: The rugnicks do not need the money and selling their collection, instead of donating it to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts(BFA), which surely would have accepted it, demeans all the time, effort and cashola these two gadflys of the New England rug collecting society expended.
Like Vok they probably are going to claim their selling at auction is to give others the chance to own their 'babies'. But this is just mealy-mouthed bullshit anyone with half a brain can see through. They want the money, period fin de la histoire.
Lord knows if any of today's collectors, besides George Hecksher, will step up to the plate of history and swing a big bat to donate their collection.
Please note: While everyone is busy bemoaning the lack of a new generation of rug collectors, it is sure easy to see why there is none thanks to no one doing anything to publicly champion this art area,,,,something wealthy people like Vok or the rugnicks could easily afford to do.
Were RK able we would ask mitchell rugnick if the at best couple of 100,000 dollars he will get (if he is lucky) is worth more than seeing his and his loudmouthed wife, rosalie's, name attached to a donation to the BFA? This would both honor their time spent and make a statement that would live on, prehaps stimulate interest, and just maybe spawn a new collector or two.
In closing we must say RK never thought much of the rosalie and mitchell rudnick and their final play in rugDUMB is sure a convincing vindication we were right on.