One week from today the pinner collection will hit the block in Wiesbaden and while it might seem rather late in the day to some of you readers for RK.com to begin to comment directly on the sale there have been several reasons for this delay. First among them was my desire to collect as much information about the sale as possible and now that this has been done several installments of commentaries will be forthcoming.
As this is the first, it will be limited to examining the circumstances behind this auction and some statements made by others about pinner himself and of course the collection. However, none of the pieces on offer will be discussed – this will be done in the subsequent installments RK.com plans to have online before the hammer comes down on the first lot.
There are two previous posts about the pinner collection posted on RK.com and it would be advisable for readers to have seen them before continuing.
The catalog produced by rippon-boswell begins with an auctioneers note about the sale that, naturally, is intended to hype the ‘importance’ of the event.
“…Lesley and Robert Pinner...Endowed with…a good eye, taste and formidable intellect were guided by their belief in the high artistic value of old Central Asian nomadic carpets at a time when like-minded people were few and far between. The subsequent changes have proven them right…the best pieces always have the potential to command record prices at auction.”
Surely there is nothing amiss here, well at least on the surface. Most if not almost all readers will nod their heads in agreement with the maltzahn’s (the auctioneers) words but, to those of us who were there with the pinners in the 1960’s collecting Turkmen rugs, these words don’t exactly ring true.
Turkmen rugs have been seriously studied and admired since the 1880’s. By the mid-1960’s interest and appreciation was widespread and, although it was not nearly as wide as it is today, maltzhan’s picturing the pinners as pioneers is not accurate or true. Far from it but it does read well, as do other comments that have been made in this catalog.
The overstating of the pinner’s collecting effort is just one of those that can be pointed out in three short ‘essays’ also included in the beginning of the catalog. Written by ‘little lord’ michael franses, hamburger danny schaeffer, and ex-banker turned rug dealer hans sienknecht these gooey paeans sound more like eulogies than introductions that might belong in a carpet sale catalog.
In fact, this whole pinner collection sale business has been advertised and editorialized with absurd overtones of piousness, sanctimony and responsibility, it continues unabated in the sales catalog. The rug world has been urged to buy pinner’s rugs, not so much because of their importance, beauty or history but to help out him out. Personally I find this both hypocritical on the part of those who are engaged in this and totally out of place in the context of a rug sale.
If those people who are making these pleas would be doing it themselves and then urging the general rug public to chip in as well I still would feel it to be out of place. But the fact they are not opening their wallets and are only asking us to is something I find deplorable.
Such is the rug world.
Did the maltzahn’s forgo their commissions? Did little lord franses return to pinner all the profit he made by selling Lesley and Robert all those Turkmen rugs over the years? Did schaeffer cut robert a check from his personal account to help Robert pay his medical expenses? Did sienknecht, a very wealthy man who owns hundreds of Turkmen rugs, give robert a helping hand in his hour of need? The answer to all these questions is a big fat NO. These miserable posing pompous hypocrites only ask others to buy his rugs – what bullsh+t.
Ok I’ve said my piece for now. Tune in for Part II of the pinner sale preview that will be posted in the Turkmen Topic area. It will soon be online for you, RK.com’s dear readers, so see you there.