Home > Archive >schaeffer's Out in Space Rippon Sale Review
Author:jc
email: jc@rugkazbah.com
Thu, Nov 25th, 2004 01:09:45 PM
Topic: schaeffer's Out in Space Rippon Sale Review

Just when RK.com thought it would be impossible for hali and hamburger danny to outdo themselves concerning the fall auction at rippon-boswell, lo and behold here comes the “review” of the sale results on their website. These folks must think their poop doesn’t stink because the crock of doo-doo they sought fit to publish reeks to high heaven.

Opening up the “review”, which by the way carries schaeffer’s byline, is a soppy paean to poor old Robert pinner’s demise. Hamburger danny’s laments :
“For me the memory of Rippon Boswell's Wiesbaden auction on 20 November 2004 will be forever overshadowed by the sad news of the death that evening of my friend and mentor, Robert Pinner. “

Fair enough pinner lived rugs after his wife, Leslie who was the real collector and rug-savant in the pinner household, died in the mid-seventies. However, making him into the Mother Theresa of the rug world is just too much for RK.com to swallow.

Whatever pinner did for the rug world, like starting hali with little lord franses or chairing the icoc, had many personal benefits for him. All this accolade-laden prose is far out of reality or veracity.

RK.com challenges anyone to provide even one selfless action pinner did for the rug-world, let alone having anyone provide the type of documentation needed to support all this fuss about his death.

And by the way, mr schaeffer, it was alan marcuson who rightly deserves to be identified as your mentor but doing that would bring up those backstabbing memories , now wouldn’t it?

OK so much for schaeffer's preamble and any comments that what followed only amounts to an unpaid oratory lauding hali’s advertisers and favored folk.

We all know if you advertise with hali you will receive favorable, if not gushing, treatment between its glossy covers and if you don’t you will be ignored or, at the worst, vilified. So the hali mantra of “advertise or perish” should replace their tired and highly specious “leading publication in the world for carpets, textiles and Islamic Art”.

Let’s now take a quick slog through the sandpit of schaeffer’s review.

Instead of assigning blame to the auctioneers for the dismal failure of the majority of the Engelhardt collection to sell at even reasonable prices, schaeffer vainly tries to over-perfume the smelly results. He writes
“Sensibly Detlef and Christa Maltzahn had negotiated reserve prices that were as much as 50 percent below the rather high published estimates, thereby yielding a total take well above the agreed minimum.”

Wow this statement rivals the neocon republican, and george bush’s, belief of success in Iraq! Sorry, Pluto, but selling a rug for one-half or one quarter of its value and then having an exorbitant auctioneer’s fee deducted from the paltry sales price on top of that is surely nothing to praise. In fact it is something to lament – maybe schaeffer doesn’t realize Horst Engelhardt is still alive and his mourning would have been better put for him, especially since his loss was not selfish but for charity - rather than poor old pinner? And by the way what type of charity did poor old pinner ever give to besides supporting a series of rug-paramours?

The Engelhardt disaster was easily foreseen and came as no surprise to RK.com. Had we been called in by Horst to consult on his dispersal we would have never let him sell those rugs at ripppon – entirely the wrong venue – and would have placed them in several auction houses in America – regardless of the sinking dollar the results would have been far better, guaranteed.

Referring to schaeffer as Pluto satisfies two connotations – the first is obvious no matter how many parts of his weighty stones he might temporarily shed and the second refers to his in outer space perceptions. Perhaps, past Pluto might better suffice?

We find his views on the Caucasian rugs in the sale typically absurd, witness his take on:
“lot 4, was one of the most beautiful blue-ground star and rosette Kuba runners I have seen. It is fine, with wonderful colours, a well-drawn field and Kufic borders and the date inscription 1287 (1871), and despite being cut and slightly reduced in length, it was a real bargain at just €6,720.”

We’d surmise from the looks of things schaeffer’s amnesiac whoop, he really should know better, reflects more who was the purchaser rather than what was purchased. And when was 6000 plus euro for a cut late 19th century rug ever a bargain?

This long rug is at best a two-dimensional copy of a design that when well conceived and articulated is able to capture a three-dimensionality. To say the crowded, lifeless rendering of this well-known and popular design is boring would be far more truthful than what schaeffer pimped out.

But his stating it is one of the “most beautiful” he had ever seen was only outdone by his belief it was a “real bargain”. Granted it was long – lotta wool there – but eye-candy it surely ain’t. And those “wonderful colors” danny-boy drools in print over leave RK.com wondering if schaeffer is colorblind or just plain ole blind. For your information, Pluto, in our estimation colors have to exhibit the two most important qualities depth and variance of shadings to be so described – two qualities sorely missing from this factory (it is not even a workshop piece, let alone artisan or God forbid artist work) production piece of Caucasian commerce.

We could go on but let’s jump over to danny-boy’s opines on the Turkmen rugs in the sale:
“Lot 127, a Tekke kapunuk, was so damaged that someone said it looked as if it had been peppered with buckshot: condition, and a slightly muted palette, kept the price down to a mere €6,000.”


We previewed this lot here on RK.com’s discussion board and while we believe condition should never be considered in assaying a weaving’s, or any other artwork’s for that matter, artistic value – we do agree it rightfully affects its monetary one – schaeffer’s inability to recognize art value here is transparent by his failure to mention anything but this kappunuk’s state of preservation. This piece had art value and the 6,000 euro was a bargain. Congrats to the astute purchaser.

Next up Pluto surveys:
“The first of a clutch of very good Salors, lot 105, an excellent but rather battered two-göl kejebe trapping, went to a phone bidder for €14,400. Lot 169, a sparkling, rare and very fine and precise kapunuk, sourced from an old private collection in France, was not over-priced at €24,000, nor was the following lot, a jewel-like three-göl chuval with glowing colours, bought by Peter Hoffmeister for €33,600”

More danny-speak here than reality as his missing the superiority of the drawing and proportions, not to mention color and weave, and only mentioning the condition of lot 105 again pinpoints schaeffer as a rug-pinhead.


His praise for the Salor kappunuk is also, in our eyes, myopic as this is a late and surely not great example and the 24,000 euro a hefty price to pay for one of this ilk, especially in today’s times.

But hamburger danny really goes out on the proverbial limb with his report of lot 170, a Salor turreted-gol chuval. Comme d’habitude danny-boy’s missed the boat again and ended up wallowing in his infatuated regard of the supposed connoisseurship of herr hoffscheister – a rug poser if there ever was one.

Guess back-stabbers hang together, huh schaeffer.


This chuval, turreted gol Salor pieces are surely in our estimation late additions to the Salor repertoire and RK.com has never seen one - and we’ve seen plenty – we would characterize as early and great, including this one. The vertical compression of the entire chuval proportions, which do not bode well for it being as early as both danny-boy and boswell himself have cracked it up to be, are the first clue any knowledgeable Turkmen collector would notice about this example. While we agree it might have had that special glow all S group piece have, or once had, the alleged “jewel-like” reference is way out in left field as we find the chunkiness of the minor gols, rather than elegance, and the additional sets of them at all sides, more like cheap faux-costume jewelry. We suggest readers refer to our Parts II and III of our preview of this sale in the “Auctions Worldwide” Topic Area for further amplification.

Describing schaeffer’s review of the mostly skewed results of this sale as gilding the lily gives him too much credit – it’s more what is really going on here, lummox? The abject debacle of the Turkish rugs in this sale danny-0 glosses over with the following inane explanation:
” There are really two main stories to be told about this part of the Wiesbaden sale. One is of the enduring buoyancy of the collector market for good Turkmen weavings, even in hard times, with further high quality consignments brought out of the woodwork by the surge of enthusiasm generated by the Pinner sale last May selling well. The other concerns the deepening unease with which the market now views certain antique Turkish and Caucasian rugs with Turkish 'connections'.”

It should be clear we think schaeffer is an idiot but let us also make it clearer that we believe he is a disingenuous one as well. The failure of almost every Turkish rug to sell was do, not to the ambiguous “Turkish connections” he cites but rather the over-dating and foolish descriptions boswell penned in the catalog and, more significantly, their poor quality. These rugs were not genuine collector pieces but rather, like many others that have sold in former times, just plain boring later 18th and 19th century workshop copies. Great Turkish rugs, mr schaeffer, with or without the quizzical “Turkish connections” you mention, would perform extremely well, even in rippon’s saleroom.

We definitely take exception to your saying:
“Their failure, which had a serious impact on the overall result of what was otherwise a remarkably animated and successful sale, must be attributed to a combination of unrealistic consignor expectations in a market where wary potential buyers now anticipate recent over-restoration and artistic augmentation, finding it even when it is not necessarily present. In these circumstances, perfectly legitimate material, some of it of great beauty and interest, becomes tainted by association.”

Hey there, schaeffer, the only tainting we have observed is yours and hali’s penchant to continually take the term ‘yellow journalism’ to new heights.

That all for today, time to go to great-grandma's for Turkey and the trimmings. Happy Thanksgiving to all, even you, hamburger danny.

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