Home > dennis dodds >LA Art Museum's Questionable Rug Purchase Revealed
Author:jc
email: jc@rugkazbah.com
Tue, Apr 17th, 2018 02:34:57 PM
Topic: LA Art Museum's Questionable Rug Purchase Revealed

The editorial in the December, 2004 Maine Antiques Digest, which is perhaps the best Antique Journal in America, raised an important issue: What are the responsibilities of antique collectors and dealers concerning reproductions and fakes?

This editorial mentions a supposed Civil War period banner that “…worked its way into the marketplace and eventually to the Gettysburg National Military Park”, which is a museum and “…holy Land for Civil War enthusiasts.

A whistle blower, who is a longtime collector, became proactive and the banner was exposed as a fake. This episode resulted in “…Gettysburg being spared the questionable artifact and its money will be returned.”

The editorial went on: “Calling an object a fake can be a minefield. What if you’re wrong? The accusation alone has the potential to damn a piece, rendering it unsalable and exposing the whistleblower to a lawsuit. What if you’re right, however, and do nothing? A fake…has the potential to damage…the credibility of the industry.”

This editorial could not have come at a more opportune moment as RK.com has been mulling over what do to about the following for some days - The Los Angeles Country Museum of Art's (LACMA) recent purchase of a Turkish Carpet alleged to be circa 1600.

It surely isn't and in our estimation this rug is nothing more than a later period reproduction.

Here is the photograph of the rug:

It was purchased by LACMA’s Costume and Textile Department and while the sources of the funding are not totally clear to us, the price they paid for the carpet is. The seller is dennis dodds, owner of the maqam gallery in Philadelphia. He is also the chairman of the icoc, as well as holding other high profile rug positions. According to dodds, LACMA paid “…around 150,000 English pounds…”, about $290,000 at the current exchange rate – that’s quite a price.

Especially since RK.com believes the pieces is, at best, a late period reproduction.

It is surely not circa 1600, or even circa 1700 according to us.

In the editorial Sam Pennington, the Maine Antiques Digest’s longtime owner, breaches what he feels someone, who suspects a fake has been passed, should do. “The middle ground we advocate is, upon seeing a questionable piece, contact the seller privately and explain, in a matter-of-fact manner, all that is known. To pass along the knowledge can spare the embarrassment and financial exposure of the dealers, as well as help keep fakes out of the market.”

Fine, well and good RK says but what if the dealer is too ignorant or greedy to accept the facts about his questionable item? Also what if the buyer refuses to credence contrary information about her purchase?

This is the situation RK.com now finds itself enmeshed in and after much deliberation we have decided to go public with the story.

LACMA’s rug, which is now on view in the Museum, is nothing more in our estimation than a late period reproduction, made long after the fact. Was it intentionally made to fool or was it made as homage to the Golden Age of rug weaving in Turkey, circa 1400-1650, when the archetype for LACMA’s later piece was produced?

Frankly RK.com doesn’t care – the fact remains it is a reproduction and not circa 1600.

It rather pathetically tries to reproduce the real form and, to anyone with considerable expertise in early Turkish Carpets, it doesn’t do a very good job even at that.

Let’s take a few minutes to examine this rug in this light. Here are a few points worth noting:

1. The monotonous coloration of this rug is the first and most obvious error. Basically it’s a red, white and blue weaving that lacks large color areas with the key choice colors – purple and green – that all masterpiece Early Turkish rugs display. The coloration also renders and limits the rug to a boring two dimensional portrait, whereas genuine weavings of this period all demonstrate the ability to create that all important third dimension.

2. The all-too balanced and repetitious placing of minor borders (with the same design on either side of the main border) is a characteristic rarely seen in early Turkish rugs but rather in those made circa 1750/1800 and afterwards. Instead, the basic and universal single minor border layout is almost religiously followed, but when there are two minor borders, they are always different.

3. The unknown 'design' (11 above, 10 below) repeated across the two additional borders, or elem at the top and bottom of the rug, are also highly suspicious and weird. They look as if they were lifted directly from an early 19th century yastic, they surely never graced a circa 1600 main carpet. Novice eyes might consider them a ' nice touch' but for experienced viewers they are wrong, wrong, wrong

4. The wonky and misshapen articulation the re-entrant design surrounding the field exhibits, especially on the lower left side, would never have been allowed by any 17th century weaver worth his or her salt. This type of uncontrolled drawing is frequently seen in late period reproductions, as well as out and out fakes.

5. The two ‘ghirlandaio medallions’ placed within the re-entrant areas display too much vertical compression and besides they lack the clarity of drawing captured by all real Classic Period Turkish rugs. Both of these are glaring errors characteristic of 19th century work and are not in any way associated with 17th century weaving.

6. This vertical compression continues in the two pairs of checkerboard designed triangles, which might be better described as horizontal spandrels, seen to the left and right of each of these ‘medallions’. Again this is indicative of 19th and not 17th century weaving.

7. The insipid, amorphous designs in each of the four lobes of the central white medallion, as well as that within the small blue ground interior one, are truly comical. Rather than veritable iconography, which is what every other a four lobed central medallion on any genuine example would contain, here the lack of visible iconographic content is woefully obvious and borders on the ridiculous. Again this is typical of late 18th/19th century work. Were this actually a 17th century weaving this area would display a potent icon, a far more complex motif or be empty -- go compare this rug with the real ones. There is no comparison.

8. Surrounding them, another medallion is suggested by connecting the 12 small blue ‘star-like’ lozenges with a thin ,single blue outline or trellis. While this convention was used in the 17th century, the actual infill of these ‘star-like’ lozenges and the trellis itself would have combined to create a third dimension. They would have been drawn with far more detailed articulation and again, this lack of detail signals this carpet’s late period reproduction status.

9. The light and breezy drawing of the main border, which could definitely be features found in a genuine 17th century Turkish rug, are, in this case, the complete antithesis of the cloddy and heavy hand the rest of the carpet exhibits. Again it would be impossible to find a circa 1600 Turkish rug with this glaring differential in drawing style.

10. When the proportions of the constituent parts of this rug are carefully examined and compared to each other, as well as to a genuine rug of its alleged period of production, RK.com can not see how anyone could believe it is anything other than a copy. The proportions are altogether wrong and this, more than any other characteristic, contributes to the two dimensionality this rug projects.

(11/7/2007 We have since stated for the record seeing it "in person", at a distance of about 10-20 feet during an exhibition preview in Philadelphia)

We grant: RK.com has not seen in person or handled the dodds/LACMA piece. But because early Turkish rugs follow certain universal criteria and because those criteria are nonexistant or have been violated here, we don’t think, we know, this rug is a later period copy or an outright fake.

These are pretty strong words and we are prepared to back them up with more proof should that ever be required.

Let’s now review what RK.com has already done to bring this to the attention of the parties involved.

First off RK.com called LACMA and after speaking to several of the Museum’s staff we spoke directly with Dale Gluckman, the curator of Costume and Textile. After telling her the rug was, at best, a late period reproduction and enumerating the points mentioned above, Rk.com told her we would be glad to help the Museum convince mr. dodds to rescind the purchase and return the price paid. She asked for some time to “think it over” and we agreed to a week.

During this intermission RK.com called mr dodds and informed him our belief the carpet was a later period reproduction, at best early 19th century work. We also told him of our intent to help LACMA, should it wish, to have him rescind the sale. As would be expected from someone like dodds, who has offered and sold weavings RK.com has publicly questioned as incorrectly described or dated, he laughed at our concerns saying we were “…just a voice in the wind.”

We have news for mr dodds, we may be a voice in the wind but that wind will soon have hurricane proportions.

We waited the week, actually 8 days, and spoke with Dale Gluckman, who also didn’t surprise us with her reticence to re-examine the rug’s purchase objectively and in light of the points we raised in our first conversation.

Dale Gluckman knows nothing about early Turkish rugs and she readily admits it! Seems the Museum enlisted the ‘expertise’ of walter denny to vet this purchase. They also relied on several other ‘names’ in the rug world but RK.com cannot reveal those persons presently, although the situation may force us to in the future.

LACMA’s other curators, there is by the way an Islamic Department where their Ardebil rug, as well as many other Islamic weavings and objects, are held, but it seems this department and others have deferred from the get-go to Ms Gluckman of Costume and Textiles. They all have remained, quite intelligently in RK.com’s estimation, out of the fray.

So there you have it – a dealer of goods that are no stranger in raising questions - selling for an exorbitant price a questionable rug to an uniformed museum curator, who sought the advice of walter denny. A sad, sad day for LACMA, not to mention the rug world in general.

Oh, just for the record: RK.com has learned LACMA’s almost $300,000.oo rug was previously and publicly offered by mr dodds two years ago at a Show in San Francisco for $85,000.oo. This comes directly from someone who inquired the price of the rug at that show.

If this isn’t the icing on the cake, we surely don’t know what could be.

But RK.com is sure of one thing - our outing dodds, denny and LACMA’s rug will create a disturbance and, we sincerely hope it will.

For not only is $300,000.oo a lot of spare change but having a obvious late period reproduction carpet displayed in a world famous, and rightly so, museum like LACMA does little to enhance the chances for public recognition of Oriental Rugs. And that, dear readers, is what this is all about.

Author: jc
email:
Tue, Apr 17th, 2018 02:34:57 PM

RugDumb has a short memory and long before today, November 25 2017, the unpleasant story of dennis dodds's dastardly deed of cheating the Collector's Committee of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art(LACMA) and the museum itself was put on the back burner and forgetten by almost everyone.

But RK has not forgotten what dodds did, we will never forget because not only did he cheat LACMA but he cheated everyone who has ever tried to raise the profile of masterpiece carpets in the art and museum world.

There is absolutely NO doubt dodds is a thief, a liar and a scoundrel. The extensive detective work and research RK published proves this hands down. His weak and duplicitous excuses, his defensive lies, deceitful statements and bogus 'explanations' are as suspect and worthless as the bogus 'bellini' rug dodds got from michael franses, who like dodds had tried and tried to sell it with no success.

Dennis dodds was franses's sucker purchaser and LACMA's Collector's Committee dodds's.

This dodds rip-off happened in 2004, thirteen years ago but the interevening years have not in any way done anything but demonstrate dodd's thievery, lies and totally unbecoming actions.

RK knows we have a large number of new readers and we suggest they make themselves conversant in the facts of the bogus 'bellini' affair. Doing so is an excellent primer to show the difference between a real masterpiece Anatolian rug and a flat, boring late genre period reproduction.

The ability to make this differentiation has never been more important considering the growing interest in Anatolian village carpets and their rising star in the carpet collecting universe.

-------------------------------------------------

April 2007

The post just below this new preamble began RK's crusade to expose the lies and deceptions dennis dodds used to convince a gullible, naive and trusting acting curator at LACMA to recommend purchase of his late genre period reproduction "bellini" rug.

It has been online since late 2004 and so far many more than 1,000* (*ed. now in 2017 the total is over 3,500) readers have read the truth about dodds, his specious salesmanship, his ludicrous "opinions" about the rug and, of course, the true and sorrowful history of the bogus "bellini", which had remained unsold on the international rug market for more than 25 years.

Convincing the LACMA curator, dale gluckman, who lost her job because of this fiasco, was like taking candy from a baby and the fact that no one besides RK has spoken out publicly about this travesty places another big black cloud over rugdom.

RK has stated, and we firmly believe, unless there is substantial public outcry against dodds's unbridled greed and stupidity for cheating a major museum, like LACMA, we can all be sure the blow-back and residual effects of this will prevent LACMA, or any other museum, from ever viewing historic Oriental Rugs in the correct and proper light or ever considering genuine woven art-works (not late genre period reproductions like dodds's bogus "bellini") as important and worthwhile subjects for research and exhibition.

There are many posts on this topic on RugKazbah.com and when they are read, both individually or as a group, they prove and establish beyond any doubt dodds cheated LACMA and did so knowingly and with malice.

HE INTENDED TO CHEAT THEM AND HE DID.

RK trusts very soon dodds will be held accountable by rugdom for his deceptions, and then this process will enable and empower LACMA’s directorate to confront dodds and force him to take the bogus "bellini", all his lies and prevarications back to his basement gallery in Chestnut Hill, Pa.

There is no doubt that is the only place a pseudo-imitation "bellini" and carpet-bagging thief and con-man like dodds belongs -- underground in a backwater basement, surely not in one of America's major museums like LACMA. 1234

Author: jc
email:
Wed, Apr 4th, 2018 02:48:39 AM

It's now exactly 14 years since dennis the liar thief grifter and carpetbaggin'con-man dodds pulled off the greatest, most dastardly, rug theft in the history of oriental rug collecting.

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) was his victim and the late genre period 'bellini' carpet dodds off-loaded on them to this day remains hidden in a sub-basement where it is forgotten by all except RK.

Telling a trusting curator, Dale Gluckman, the rug was 16th century, a masterpiece of its type and a museum worthy acquisition dodds is guilty of misrepresentation, breach of contract and many violations of ethics and professionalism.

Gluckman lost her job when the museum found out the truth.

Then the museum's director, Andrea Rich, suddenly retired and was gone.

All this thanks to their trusting dodds.

So dodds got away with his theft, Gluckman lost her job and Rich left under suspicious circumstances. And of course LACMA got deceived and the Collector's Committee who put up the $250,000 to buy dodds's bogus 'bellini' was also deceived and cheated.

There is not on shred of doubt this is what happened and dennis dodds to this day has not been held accountable for his actions. Thanks to the cover-up charade LACMA effected, to hide their lack of due diligence, fiduciary responsibility to the Collector's Committee and the public, dodds escaped.

RK suggests it is not too late and interested readers should write to LACMA and to the icoc to protest dodds's thievery and demand accountability.

Author: jc
email:
Mon, Mar 24th, 2008 08:00:23 AM

We are posting this here, as well as above, to emphasize our growing disgust concerning Rugdom's abject refusal to confront this important issue.

This post began RK's crusade to expose the lies and deceptions dennis dodds used to convince a gullible, naive and trusting acting curator at LACMA to recommend purchase of his late genre period reproduction "bellini" rug.

It has been online since late 2004 and so far hundreds of readers have read the truth about dodds, his specious salesmanship, his ludicrous "opinions" about the rug and, of course, the true and sorrowful history of the bogus "bellini", which had remained unsold on the international rug market for more than 25 years.

Convincing the LACMA curator, dale gluckman, who lost her job because of this fiasco, was like taking candy from a baby and the fact that no one besides RK has spoken out publicly about this travesty places another big black cloud over rugdom.

RK has stated, and we firmly believe, unless there is substantial public outcry against dodds's unbridled greed and stupidity for cheating a major museum, like LACMA, we can all be sure the blow-back and residual effects of this will prevent LACMA, or any other museum, from ever viewing historic Oriental Rugs in the correct and proper light or ever considering genuine woven art-works (not late genre period reproductions like dodds's bogus "bellini") as important and worthwhile subjects for research and exhibition.

There are many posts on this topic on RugKazbah.com and when they are read, both individually or as a group, they prove and establish beyond any doubt dodds cheated LACMA and did so knowingly and with malice.

HE INTENDED TO CHEAT THEM AND HE DID.

RK trusts very soon dodds will be held accountable by rugdom for his deceptions, and then this process will enable and empower LACMA’s directorate to confront dodds and force him to take the bogus "bellini", all his lies and prevarications back to his basement gallery in Chestnut Hill, Pa.

There is no doubt that is the only place a pseudo-imitation "bellini" and carpet-bagging thief and con-man like dodds belongs -- underground in a backwater basement, surely not in one of America's major museums like LACMA.

Author: jc
email:
Sun, Aug 12th, 2007 02:56:15 PM

Like our analogy about hali and their Emperor's New Clothes modus operandi concerning LACMA's purchase of the bogus "bellini" from dodds, there are many in rugland who also know the "bellini" is not, by a long shot, what dodds claimed.

However, like those at hali who also realize this, they too are unwilling to publicly state what they are willing to say in private.

Recently, RK has canvassed a number of people in rugdom and they all agreed with our position.

But when RK asked them to go public with their views, once again, they all demurred stating that either it "wasn't their battle”; they were afraid of what others might say about their agreeing with RK; they felt it was now a "dead issue" that no one but RK cares about; or they just said they were too damn lazy and "unconcerned" to take a public position on the issue.

We, in no short terms, answered such "excuses" were meaningless and unless dodds and LACMA were put on notice that many others, besides yours truly, are upset and dismayed to learn dodds would stoop so low as to bamboozle and cheat a major museum into purchasing a rug he and others have been unable to sell for almost 30 years, rugdom will, undoubtedly, suffer continuing fallout and further far more dire consequences than are present today.

In the long run this sale will always be a black mark and one that will continue to keep historic rugs out of the public’s eye and consciousness.

There is little doubt LACMA is not happy with the purchase but, because of internal politics and fear of looking stupid for buying the bogus "bellini" in the first place, LACMA is willing to keep the rug, rather than pressure dodds to take it back.

This ongoing, behind closed doors, struggle at LACMA is one that will, according to our belief, eventually have to become public and be resolved.

And RK will not cease our objections until that day comes.

Author: jc
email:
Mon, Mar 19th, 2007 02:51:01 PM

Far from having been put to sleep, the saga LACMA became embroiled in by purchasing this rug continues. From what we have learned/heard the Museum is still researching and investigating the rug, as well as RK's claims.

Keep an eye on his Topic Area, as we are sure sooner than later we will have some exciting news that will not support those, who either through ignorance or complicity credence dodds's bogus claims and disbelieve ours.

Author: jc
email:
Tue, Apr 18th, 2006 04:08:14 PM

We didn’t cover the London “Islamic Week Sales” and today we learned this rug:

was sold at Bonham’s.

Described as a “Pre-1800 Turkish village rug”, it sold for almost $20,000, more than double the low 5-7000 estimate.

Granted it is basically a put back together fragment but, still, its a great example and we find the price a bit low. But surely not something to warrant mention here.

We will picture it again, now with the LACMA/dodds rug:

and believe that is enough for many readers to realize why.

Notice the same NSEW drawing within the central medallion is far better articulated and even with a photograph is as poor as this one it still shines through.

The Bonham's rug is genuinely from the period 1650-1750 and comparison with the LACMA piece clearly demonstrates why we have declared the latter to be a late period, genre reproduction.

Author: jc
email:
Tue, Mar 21st, 2006 08:22:11 PM

Some long weeks ago we mentioned we had been told of LACMA's plan to re-exhibit the rug along with the museum's newly completed dye and carbon-dating findings. These tests supposedly provide support for their latest attempt to date the rug. Now it is circa 1650, the third guesstimate the museum has made in the year it has owned it.

At the time, several months ago when this news was relayed to us, we figured as soon as they heard what we thought of this plan and our intention to show its irrelevance, they might re-consider re-exhibiting that miserable excuse for an early Turkish Village Rug alongside some silly tests that are far far from conclusive on dating.

It’s clear their 1650 date is a joke and way too optimistic. Their erroneous belief the rug is museum worthy, no matter what its true age, is also nothing other than another hopeless indefensible position.

By the way, their re-exhibit plan was told to us by a horse's mouth, but it was either more dis-and mis-information and they never planned to re-exhibit the rug or they soon realized a carbon date and dye test, no matter how detailed, are far from positive proof of age.

However, as we have contended from the get-go:
putting the LACMA rug next to a number of real Bellini rugs -- ones that genuinely are circa 1600-1700 specimens -- positively shows LACMA’s is inferior in all respects, even compared to the latest and worst example of these.

This art-historical comparison is much more capable of supporting our position – the rug is circa 1750-1800 and a late genre reproduction -- than c-14 and the terminus ante quo associated with any dye analysis could ever be for LACMA’s untentable one.

The rug is not circa 1650 nor is it a masterpiece and no matter what a specious c-14 date ‘probabilitizes’ that is irrefutable fact.

Author: jc
email:
Thu, Mar 16th, 2006 11:19:32 AM

Just to let all our readers know, this morning our webmaster informed me this thread received its 2000th view at 6:45AM.

That gives the initial post, and entire thread, a popularity record for RugKazbah.com's board and we would like to thank all those who have read, and thought about, what is contained herein.

We know many of you share our thoughts and know dodds’s rug is not museum quality or any of the other fabrications dodds spun on LACMA when selling it.

We also know only by publicly communicating the dissatisfaction and concerns we all share, especially by raising the issue and talking about it with our rug friends and at the various rug gatherings, will there be some chance this fiasco will be remedied.

Author: jc
email: jc@rugkazbah.com
Mon, Feb 6th, 2006 09:59:25 AM

An interesting article appeared on the website of the Jewish Journal of Los Angeles (http://www.jewishjournal.com/home/preview.php?id=15347).

It concerns the issue of stolen art that finds it’s way into the collections of major museums and specifically the problems the Met and Getty are now embroiled in.

While stolen art is a major topic, so is mis-attributed, fake and reproduction art as well.

We have taken a few quotes out of that article and publish them here with our comments as they relate to LACMA’s blunder in purchasing that rug from dennis dodds.

The quotes from the article appear in “quotation” marks and our follow in bold type.

“Barry Munitz, the Getty Trust’s president and CEO since 1998, has been battered with press reports about apparently uncontrolled and self-indulgent personal expense-account spending of the kind that we have learned to associate with corporate malfeasance.”

The haughty, holier than thou attitude many museum professionals adopt could be no better exemplified than that taken by the Getty’s director, Mr Munitz.

RK has encountered the same “how dare you” response from LACMA’s directorship and legal department. Which is truly despicable as RK’s intentions have been from the get-go only to help the museum identify and rectify an error.

For offering this assistance we have only been demonized, chastised and rejected. Guess the great unwashed cannot provide assistance to the important pooh-bahs who sit in museum director’s chairs or in those of their legal or curatorial departments.

“Last week’s overdue resignation of Getty trustee and major antiquities donor Barbara Fleischman appears to be an attempt to resolve conflict-of-interest charges, which earlier forced the resignation of Marion True, the Getty’s prominent curator for antiquities. True is currently being tried by Italian authorities, who claim that she was involved in the Getty’s acquisition of allegedly stolen archaeological material. (Her defenders argue that True was actually responsible for the museum’s adopting stricter policies to determine the legality of its acquisition of ancient art.) Meanwhile, the Getty trustees have been attacked for inadequate fiduciary oversight, while simultaneously creating an investigative committee to see whether anything wrong has happened in either the Trust’s or the museum’s actions.”

Concerning the LACMA issue the director of the museum at the time of the rug’s purchase has resigned, as did the curator who championed the purchase. However, both these resignations had nothing to do with the debacle buying the rug has thrown the museum into.

Perhaps there are some other resignations or departures that should be tied to it and the ongoing cover-up LACMA seems to feel is the best way to handle this problem??

“The Getty’s initial opaque response to such external pressures seems to be typical of many of our most valued public institutions, although it’s just possible that the Getty’s stunning arrogance is exceptional, even in the uppity world of museums. The Getty’s very spot, at the top of mountains in Pacific Palisades and in Brentwood, is symbolic of the institution. Is there, in these locations, an innate sense of not belonging to all those freeway backups down below that is emblematic of the distance between the Getty and the necessary demands of the real world? And is this what we see in many of our museums — that is, while providing one kind of access (educational programs, audio guides, etc.), they are nevertheless making sure that there is a wall keeping the public from knowing anything about how the place is run, the role of the trustees, and whether there are questions surrounding how the collections got there?”

Here again we see more of that holier than thou attitude. Why should the Getty or LACMA not want to be on the side of truth? Is their role as commercial enterprises more important than that as public institutions involved with preserving artwork for succeeding generations?

“If we see museums buying and selling, acquiring and disposing, does that change our view of their legitimate warehouse claim on materials with questionable provenance and unclear title? Like the items the Italians are trying to recover from the Getty. One museum argument is that those returned things might later turn up on the marketplace. But aren’t museums themselves already making that happen?”

Does LACMA plan to bury the rug in storage for a long time and then dispose of it by de-accessioning it?

If so, this would not be the first time something like that happened.

“But is that still true? As we groove on the Getty Villa’s treasures, should we worry that our participation makes us tacit accomplices in a world of underhanded acquisition, tomb robbers and sleazy dealers who operate money and art laundering operations? Possibly………………The viewer isn’t especially well-positioned to know the sources of art on view, and given our continued acceptance of the lack of candor in so many public institutions, we’re not likely to find out.”

Clearly the preceding paragraph was not written about the LACMA/dodds rug. However, it surely could have been according to RK.com.

RK intends to see this issue through to the end and, while it might appear to our readership nothing is happening with our efforts to make LACMA face the truth about the rug and dodds’s phony sales pitch and disingenuous statements of provenance, trust us on this one there is backfield motion and soon some of that might come to the fore.

If and when it does you will read about it here first. Stay tuned…

Author: jc
email:
Thu, Jan 26th, 2006 08:28:43 PM

Every time RK looks at the miserable imposter of a “Bellini” rug dennis dodds pawned off on LACMA we can't decide whether to laugh or throw up.

We have written plenty about this bogus ‘masterpiece’ and proven beyond a shadow of reasonable doubt it not museum worthy nor is it a masterpiece of its type. Forget about the fact it is circa 1750-1800 and not circa 1550, as dodds told them to make the sale, or even 1650, the fallacious date LACMA has pulled out of the hat of their carbon-dating exercise.

Better a bunny rabbit would have appeared, at least that would have been real magic!

Seriously speaking, we know we are not alone in this but unfortunately the multitude who agree with our assessment of the rug are either to busy or lazy to make their voices heard.

We hope this short missive will prod some of you into action and you will get off your butts and call LACMA and speak to either Sharon Takeda, the curator of the Costume and Textile department that houses the rug or place a call to fred goldstein, the legal counsel for the museum.

You could also call the museum at: (323) 857 6000 and ask the operator to connect you to the director's office and express your opinion there as well.

Here are the phone numbers and extensions for Takeda and goldstein:

Takeda (323) 857 6000 ext 6070

goldstein (323) 857 6000 ext 6048

If enough RK.com's readers take a few minutes to do this we are sure LACMA will not ignore the public outcry -- the fact there has not been one from rugdom has been just one more reason they have perpetrated the cover-up and circle the wagons response they have adopted to this matter.

So stand up and make your voice heard and put the LACMA on notice.

Author: jc
email: jc@rk.com
Sat, Jan 21st, 2006 07:49:29 PM

It's amusing to imagine what might be going through dodds's greedy little mind?

So far he has gotten away with his 'coup' scot-free, as certain parts of rugdom like the upper-income brackets, dumb as rocks, buyers who believes dodds's sales talk, don't read RK.com. And like the president dodds is high profile, regrettably most people believe publicity.

Unfortunately for both of them their errors are so gross it is neigh impossible they'll be overlooked. That's is once someone is looking.

It's truly exceptionally outrageous no-one from the 'establishment' has chastised dodds for taking advantage of a naif like gluckman or even questioned the sale publicly.

RK intends to make sure eventually everyone, even dodds's closest supporters, learns how he bamboolzed a gullible museum curator like gluckman, stretched the truth like cheap pizza dough and even invented some as well. But in our book the Museum's administration's circling the wagons and refusing to face the truth is far worse than even dodds's most blatant transgressions.

Know we are verging on confirming some explosive new information and, as soon as it gels, we will share it with you all.

Author: jc
email:
Sun, Dec 11th, 2005 12:18:12 PM

The attributions that have become de rigueur for many types of rugs and the associated "dating" games” for them, are, frankly, totally subjective at best.

This fact is, however, not always the case when it comes to weavings made within the confines of the ateliers sponsored by the royal houses of the Ottomans and Safavids, or weavings done on commission for them by private contractors.

These weavings have lately been described as "large scale society weavings".

However, there is no doubt, all ideas of attribution or dating for the other types of examples, like the dodds/LACMA rug that are now conversely referred to in anthropological and ethnographic circles as "small scale society weavings", have little or no factual basis.

That said, and because we now have a voluminous number of published examples of all types of these "small scale society weavings", in lieu of the documentary evidence that can be occasionally used to attribute and date the "large scale society weavings", the only means available to study them is to create design specific continuums that can, in fact, provide important dating clues.

When these continuum are based on examination of all the various aspects and nuances of their expression of a particular design type, and when a skilled and expert examiner does this, the resulting continuum or sliding scale can be quite effective in answering the "dating game" question, as well as others.

However, they can not give a year specific date but rather only one of comparison, i.e. where an example sits on the continuum. Nor can this methodology attribute any rug to a specific place of manufacture or to a specific individual or group of individuals unless, as is the case with a minute number of "large scale society" weavings, there is a signature.

OK, then, what does all this mean in relation to the LACMA rug situation?

Simply put, by gathering a number of examples of "Bellini" design rugs, or all of them for that matter, and then placing the LACMA piece within this grouping, it becomes amazingly apparent the dodds dud is just that, a dud and nothing more than the runt of the litter, as we have so characterized it in our past writings.

In several of the many posts RK has written about this situation, which we have called a rug world art-crime of major proportions, we have done just that -- presented other "Bellini" rugs of the 16th , 17th, and 18th centuries for comparison.

The blatantly obvious conclusion, and one does not have to be a rug Einstein to arrive there, is patently clear -- the LACMA rug is, at best, an example that belongs at the very end of the continuum of examples with the so-called "Bellini" re-entrant design.

When push comes to shove everything dodds has stated about his rug, as well as everything LACMA has done to try and, at first, support his absurd statements and, now, to use questionably applicable science (C14 dating) or science that is totally ineffective (dye testing as a means of dating) to make up their own, stretches the veil of believability beyond the point of breaking -- they have ripped it to shreds.

This sorrowful situation, as is the case in most cover-ups, has only made LACMA's predicament worse, not better and any unprejudiced observer would have to agree.

It's time for LACMA to face the music and realize the tune dodds sang, and LACMA has so far tried in vain to harmonize with, is so far off-key that it strains the ears of anyone one who hears it.

And Lord knows a lot of people have heard it and, if LACMA persists in their efforts to prove dodds and they are right, and RK is wrong, we will make sure they are further embarrassed by allowing this charade to continue.

Author:
email:
Fri, Dec 9th, 2005 08:21:17 PM

"So, just because the dating of dodds's rug had a 95% certainty according to Jull, in reality, if it had been 50% or even 99% it still is not positive."

Wake up, boy. With this statement you just display your lack of understanding of statistics. Pull up your pants and check out a statistics book from the library.

==============================================

RK Replies:

Just who are you calling boy, stooge?

While you were so busy preparing to demonstrate your miniscule pseudo-understanding of statistics, we’d guess you forgot your dictionary.

Go look up probability, ignorant.

The probability of something happening can never be equated with certainty.

Go read the dictionary definition, fool, you might learn something.

As for the probability of carbon 14 dating results for rugs like the dodds piece, apparently, you know even less:

1. the relative quotient returned from a sample must be compared to one with a positively known date. In the case of dodds's dud of a rug what did Jull use for comparison?

2. The 200 year spread the sample returned, and Jull reported, is big enough to drive an entire fleet of tractor trailers through and putting any credence in that spread is as dumb as your belief in it.

3. In fact, a 99% probability carries no more assurance of fact than 50% or even 10%. If you had any semblance of intellect you'd realize that, clearly you don’t and your infantile squawking is just more proof of that fact.

4. Any comparison of the LACMA/dodds rug to others of its design type, forget comparing it with all other types of ETV (early Turkish Village) rugs, makes it, at best, look like the runt of the litter.

So regardless of the dating the questionable use of C14 for an object of its ilk -- a rug that has been exposed to a myriad of contaminating influences and one that is not really old enough for such an analysis in the first place – returned, any cogent art historical comparison makes mockery of that result.

While we know you are posting from the Boston area and have an idea of your identity, your posting anonymously doesn't add much credibility to your message or intent.

And the content you seem to feel is credible is, in the final analysis, as bogus as your hiding behind that anonymity.

Go eat some baked beans and maybe the resulting gas will help you to think more clearly.

Surely it can't make you stink any more than you do now.

Author: jc
email: jc@rugkazbah.com
Fri, Dec 9th, 2005 11:28:30 AM

As expected, and mentioned in our last posting, the Museum's 'testing' of the dodds rug is easily debunked, as it provides absolutely nothing positive to support their latest contention that the rug is now attributable to the "late 17th" century".

Regrettably the Museum administration has again fallen for a dubious bill of goods and their "scientific" testing provides no more assurance of accuracy than dodds's original fallacious and now debunked mid-16th century pronouncement.

The Museum (LACMA) used a two-pronged "investigation" -- carbon 14 dating and dye analysis.

RK's disbelief of the veracity of carbon 14 dating for any Oriental Rug or weaving has been a matter of record for many years, in fact, since the late 1980's when this type of dating "analysis" was first applied to rugs we have been an outspoken critic about its unreliability in this regard.

Dye analysis is a different story and this technique, even when it is done with simple chemistry, is highly effective.

However, no dye testing can prove anything, especially the age of the dyed material, when natural dyes are found.

Sure, the presence of synthetic dyes when located do provide a positive dating result but that result is only a terminus ante quo, i.e. the material could not have been produced prior to the date the synthetic dye was first synthesized.

With these caveats in mind, no one who is objective and without prejudice could possibly believe the "testing" LACMA has now completed changes anything.

We have heard from a reliable source the following:

1. the carbon 14 analysis was done by professor Jull of the Arizona Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS) Laboratory and

2. the dye testing was done by the Getty Museum, supposedly in consultation with Jan Woulters.

The carbon 14 (C14) analysis returned a 1450-1650 date range for the rug samples that were submitted with a 95% probability.

This is neither the time nor place to begin explaining the science behind C14 analysis or to present the myriad of factors that must be taken into account when trying to use the results.

However, there are two incredibly important factors we must mention -- the fact any C14 result must be compared to a one already known i.e. it is a comparative analytic tool and secondly the fact there is never a 100% certainty of the result.

So, just because the dating of dodds's rug had a 95% certainty according to Jull, in reality, if it had been 50% or even 99% it still is not positive.

Granted the Museum took a conservative path in now stating the rug is late 17th century but whether or not they chose late 17th or mid-15th century -- the range Jull analysis returned -- they are still not on solid ground.

C14 is highly effective but not for the type of rug dodds's pawned off on them and LACMA's "faith" in the results is, in real world terms, absolutely no different than their believing the spurious claims dodds used to sell it to them in the first place.

As for the dye analysis? Well, we never suggested or thought there would be the presence of synthetic dyes in any original parts of the rug and the fact none were located supplies not one iota of credence to dating the rug as late 17th century.

The rug is not late 17th. It is a mid-to-late 18th century genre copy. It is not a masterpiece, as dodds claimed and RK has well documented, compared to other rugs of its type, nor is it museum worthy as we have also firmly stated from the beginning.

The rug is not a piece of history -- it has none-- nor is it beautiful.

It is a genuine reproduction made more for an exclusive drawing room where it should be laying in front of a fireplace than a museum of LACMA’s stature.

It does not belong in a museum and LACMA's head in the sand stance and their refusal to face the facts about it are truly deplorable.

As soon as they re-hang the rug in a gallery in the museum along with the ineffective scientific reports they have not collected, as we have learned is their intention, it will not silence any further questions about their mistake.

No sir, such a move will do nothing other than exacerbate their predicament and, as far as we are concerned, only add credence to our contentions concerning LACMA's failure to do due diligence before making the purchase and, even worse, to attempt to stonewall it and now cover up it up with comic-book quality conclusions drawn from non-applicable scientific investigation .

More to come....

Author: jc
email:
Fri, Dec 2nd, 2005 09:49:59 PM

We have been recently informed the "testing" is now complete and the rug will soon be on public exhibition along with the "=scientific" evidence to support the Museum's attributing it to the "late 17th Century".

We can not wait to see their findings and will be amazed if they hold any water.

There are no tests to prove any rug is pre-synthetic period and presenting any village rug, especially one as degenerate as this one, as late 16th is ludicrous if not larcenous.

More to come

Author: jc
email:
Tue, Sep 27th, 2005 10:52:08 AM

While RK.com has heard nothing definitive about LACMA's position (re: the dodds rug) we have noted several important signs the issue is not a dead one.

Perhaps the most salient one is the fact dodds has recently included the rug in the latest round of advertisements for his new gallery.

Why would he do that, you might wonder, considering the rug has already been sold? We share the same thoughts and can only come to the conclusion dodds knows what we suspect: he has been contacted by the Museum and told to take it back.

There are some others indications that lead us to believe dodds will soon have to find a place on the wall of his new gallery for the dud of a rug he pawned off on LACMA but we are not presently at liberty to discuss those in public.

Rest assured as soon as we can we will, also note RK.com's efforts to right this travesty continue and will not cease until the rug is returned to dodds.

Stay tuned for further developments that will surely be forthcoming…

Author: jc
email:
Sat, Apr 23rd, 2005 06:13:48 PM

Today we heard a rumor that one of LACMA's board members has caught word of our campaign to expose the errors the museum made in believing dodds's rug was 16th century, a masterpiece of its type and worth the huge price they paid for it.

We have also heard this person knows that LACMA has been trying to cover up this situation by putting on a happy face instead of facing the facts and acting accordingly.

Mind you this is only a rumor, as we have not been contacted nor do we even know who this board member supposedly is.

As soon as we are able to verify this rumor we will post what we have learned.

So stay tuned to the continuing saga and remember as Yogi once quipped:
"It ain't over till it's over."

Author: jc
email:
Wed, Apr 20th, 2005 01:27:22 PM

Today RK received the following email from Stephanie Morehouse who is involved with the Textile Group in Los Angeles (TGLA).

This organization is one of two rug clubs that are in the greater LA area.

Stephanie is a very hard working and caring person who RK has known for a long time.

Here is her email and RK’s response below.

Jack,
Did you receive my last email to you?
I wanted to send you a copy of a letter but do not have your address.
Stephanie in LA

stephanie:
1. when did you send the email?
2. i presume the letter has to do with the lacma story
dont send it to me

get off your ass and mobilize the "rug community" in LA to protest the purchase

if enough people protest lacma will have no choice but face the fact the rug is a dud and rescind the sale.

so get going...there are at least about 100 people in the la rug groups
so mobilize them instead of writing to me
jc

Author: jc
email:
Mon, Apr 4th, 2005 03:45:37 PM

Now it's official - Andrea Rich, the current president and director of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, is leaving in November.

Her sudden departure follows that of Dale Gluckman, the curator who championed the purchase of dodds's dud of a Turkish Rug and presented it, and the highly specious description dodds laid on her, to the Collectors Committee in 2004.

From the get-go we knew Gluckman was leaving the museum and, in fact, her desire to have LACMA purchase dodds's over valued - in every sense of the word - pile of fluffy wool was to be the crowning achievement of her years in the Costume and Textile Department.

While this has perplexed many people, after all Gluckman's expertise and experience does not include Oriental Carpet, RK.com has known why she did the "dirty deed" for quite some time. We will reveal that here and now.

The former curator, Mary Khalenberg who Gluckman eventually replaced. bought a high priced Mughal velvet panel as her last act before she left to become a private dealer. Seems Gluckman wanted to follow in her steps and, in reality, leave an even larger footprint as she did so.

Hence Gluckman's eagerness, and ignorance, to consummate the deal with dodds.

This is the story behind the story.

What Gluckman envisioned as her last and greatest contribution to her department and the museum has ended up being her swan song.

But not only does it rain on her parade, it pours down even harder on the museum.

Let's face facts, the purchase does nothing to increase the museum's holdings of carpets, nor does it do anything to help LACMA build up its Islamic collection.

It is a giant stain that has bleed over both these objectives and left a blemish that even Gluckman's departure cannot eradicate.

RK envisions the decision to stonewall any serious re-appraisal of the dodds purchase and the low-key cover-up that has ensued was at the least approved by Andrea Rich and, at the most, planned and engineered by her.

One thing's sure, if she, as the museum's president and director, had wanted to truly understand what was wrong with the purchase and then, by doing so, was willing to rectify this seriously flawed acquisition we would not be writing this, nor would RK.com have had to continue our efforts to bring truth, rather than double-talk and obfuscation, to the rugworld and general public's attention.

Now that Rich is bailing out of the president’s office perhaps she will re-consider and face the music instead of trying to silence it.

Author: jc
email:
Mon, Feb 7th, 2005 08:40:45 PM

The problem the dodds rug poses for LACMA is perceived by the Museum as only ‘one of time’.

After ten years, so their logic goes, no-one will care about it anymore.

Only in the immediate and soon-to-be present does the decision to fork over $250K for a late period reproduction Turkish Village re-entrant rug make them sweat.

And rightly so, if small-mind-itis rules the roost. But RK believes only by admitting fault(which isn’t more than the lack of an active expression of due diligence), and assigning it to others for their roles(which is much considering they were supposed to be the “experts”), will Andrea Rich, the Museum's director stand to gain.

Now that denny has publicly stated the rug is not 16th century, nor circa 16oo but probably 17th or 18th century, thompson and mackie will likely agree and dodds will be forced to as well.

Best for everyone concerned.

Fessing up for one's errors is always the easiest in the end....and let's face it, the end is what it's all about.

Author: jc
email:
Sun, Jan 23rd, 2005 11:16:47 PM

Presently there is considerable back-field in-motion concerning this issue. As soon as it gels we will report back to our readers.

Author: jc
email:
Sun, Jan 9th, 2005 04:12:59 PM

There are several other posts about this unfortunate situation in "JC's Corner" and the "Truth Hurts Department" topic areas on RK.com's discussion board. Be sure to have a read there as well for more info and updates on the dodds/LACMA fiasco.

Author: jc
email:
Sat, Jan 8th, 2005 09:38:34 PM

Several readers have emailed wanting to know why RK claims none of the participants in this purchase are innocent.

Basically, there are 4 "individuals" involved here, 3 who share various level of culpability and a 4th that is entirely blameless and "innocent":
1. dennis dodds and his maqam gallery
2. dale gluckman and her Costume and Textile Department
3. the three "experts" who were chosen to vet the rug
4. the group of contributors who actually put up the money to buy the rug

RK will, for the time being, keep the identities of the buyers private since they, as we have said, are blameless. However, two of the other three, dodds and gluckman, are in deep doo-doo, in fact in way over their heads. LACMA, unlike dodds and gluckman, is not but depending on what they do and how they do it, the Museum might just find itself there as well.

We are sure no one outside of a few people at LACMA even knows a category 5 storm is brewing around the Turkish rug that is hanging in one of their galleries. But, as time goes on (and time does pass very quickly sometimes), we are sure more will learn about it.

We are equally sure when they do, there won't be alot of happy faces or high-fives on Wilshire Blvd.

OK, then what exactly is their culpability?:
1. dennis dodds- either way the current chairperson of the icoc plays it, he is doomed. For if he knew the rug was the dud RK claims it is and still misled potential buyers he is nothing more than a common thief in our opinion. If he didn't know, well, that does say volumes about the level of his expertise, something RK.com has questioned before.
2. dale gluckman- her big mistake is failing to do her homework and naively believing everything dodds told her. We have some juicy quotes from people who were privy to dodds's sales spiel and may, sometime in the future, reveal them here. Needless to say from what we have learned dodds's statements about this rug and its "history" are misleading at best and highly deceptive at the worst. Had gluckman done proper due diligence she could easily have learned the truth and, armed with that, she surely would not have championed this purchase.
3. The three "experts", or stooges as they have been characterized here on RK.com, missed the boat big-time on this one. When neophyte collectors can readily see this weaving is not 400 years old or beautiful why couldn't they? Were they as lost here as dodds or in on the game?

This is a serious matter and that is why RK.com has, unilaterally, taken up the mantle to sort it out. Not only is almost $300,000 alot of money to waste on a dud but having that dud, a mediocre copy, hanging in a museum masqueraded as an original demeans not only a great weaving tradition but it vilifies all the genuine efforts RK.com and other have expended in their attempts to raise awareness and appreciation for these art works.

It is simple and straight forwarded affair - dodds got caught with his hand in the cookie jar, (whether he did so on purpose or not) and now all he has to do is return the cookies he removed.

Author: jc
email:
Sat, Jan 8th, 2005 01:59:56 PM

One small but perhaps quite interesting note to add is the wording on the museum ‘tag’ or label LACMA has placed next to the rug. A reader went to the exhibition, where it is still on view in the museum, on Thursday and reports
"There is no date, it just says the rug is from Konya."

RK finds this a bit strange, as ms gluckman, emphatically told us when we first spoke with her "... the rug is circa 1600…" and dodds’s public announcement of his sale of this rug to a “major museum” likewise listed a circa 1600 date.

Is that label the original one or has it been changed since RK spoke to gluckman and raised our objections?

If anyone saw the rug on view at LACMA last month and could confirm the rug's label did have a date and what that date was, I am sure we are not the only interested parties who would like to know.

One thing is sure, the wheels of truth and justice are turning but at this point it is still highly debatable whether they will roll with enough force to overcome the inertia of vested interest in play here.

Fact is all the parties concerned, except RK, want the status quo to remain in place, we are the lone objector - everyone else is OK with this lamentable situation.

Sad fact is, the truth often hurts but, when you carefully think about it, the truth rarely hurts those who are truly innocent - and in this fiasco none of the principals, except those who paid for the rug, could claim to be so.

Rk.com is still not 100 percent sure of all the behind the scene maneuvers that brought the rug from dodds’s maqam gallery to LACMA, or of the real story of how he acquired it. But as soon as we are these, and the details of the purchase itself (which RK does positively know) will be made public here on RK.com. So stay tuned and all should be revealed here in the coming days.

Again we ask mr dodds to pull himself up by the boot straps, be the big man, take his rug back and return the “almost 200,000 pounds” he extracted from LA for this dud of a Turkish rug.

Author: jc
email:
Wed, Dec 29th, 2004 12:10:26 PM

Above is the bogus Dragon/Phoenix fragment jon Thompson, acting as hecksher’s “expert”, helped him to purchase in the late 1990’s.

Frankly, RK.com wonders how Thompson or the other “expert” hecksher consulted (sorry for now this other person, who is also a well known rug world ‘name’, will remain unmentioned) were fooled by this obvious fake.

Rk.com told hecksher it was bogus from viewing a photo but, unfortunately for mr hecksher, more credence was put on thompson’s opinion than on ours.

According to what an astute reader emailed us “Böhmer`s dye analysis gives red and yellow as synthetic, blue as probably synthetic indigo.”.

In our opinion this dragon/phoenix dud appears no more or less genuine than the dodds/LACMA rug.

Both of them are in RK.com’s estimation - and we should again mention there are others who harbor the same thoughts - such patent knock-offs, no expert could possibly think they were genuine period weavings. Well, no-one who really is an expert, that is.

But alas, Thompson, and hecksher’s other ‘expert’, guided him into purchasing this laughable late 19th century dragon/phoenix copy and now some long years later thompson - with mackie and denny protecting his flanks (did he really think having two head-nodders was better than just one?)- approves LACMA’s purchase of the dodd’s rug.

Guess jonny-boy didn’t learn his lessons well, now did he?

By the way, hecksher’s dud was back on the market after he finally realized he was wearing the “emperor’s new clothes”. It appeared in a selling booth at the Milan ICOC where we believe it didn’t sell but have no definitive word on that subject or its present whereabouts.

Surely, we would like to see the same finale to the LACMA story – having the rug, we knowingly and brazenly continue to call a late period reproduction, returned to mr dodd’s wall rather than see it continue to be hanging in the LA Museum of Art as an ‘art-work’ RK.com feels is a long way from what ms gluckman, and her equally naïve supporters, ‘think’ it is.

Author: jc
email:
Mon, Dec 27th, 2004 02:02:42 PM

Since posting our reservations about LACMA's rug RK.com has spoken to a number of people about the situation.

When we spoke with walter denny we learned he was only given a photograph of the rug to use in formulating his opinion. This should in no way damn or absolve him from responsibility, in fact, it matters little in RK's opinion, as anyone with enough expertise in this area should be able to discern the facts from good photos.

During our conversation denny mentioned he is going to lecture in LA and would then "...go see it in person.". He then said he would contact us with his "opinion" afterwards. Frankly, we wonder what, if any difference, it will make. If denny or anyone else who claims, or is touted, to be an expert can't decide from a photograph then perhaps they should not have offered their opinion in the first place.

So much for denny.

Several readers have emailed us in support of our position but one, who did so anonymously, told us to "...mind our own business..." and wanted to know "...what's your motive in doing this?"

First off, this is our business and anyone else's who is interested in historic Oriental Rugs. LACMA is a public institution and as such is definitely responsible to the public, even if that public is not in agreement with the Museum's actions. Secondly, RK.com has only one motive: to help LACMA properly determine what exactly the rug they bought is and, should it prove to be not what it was cracked up to be, i.e. circa 1600, and in fact be a late period reproduction, then to help them convince mr dodds to refund the purchase price and take his rug back. This is the only reason we have spoken up. We have no hidden agenda, nor are we interested in profiting in any way from our assistance.

Rk.com also feels it is now time to identify the other two "experts" who were consulted before LACMA wrote the check.

They are jon thompson and elizabeth mackie.

According to what we have learned both of them, unlike denny, saw the rug in person. Obviously all three of them, thompson, denny and mackie voiced their approval and support.

Let us mention jon thompson also vetted and vouched for the now debunked supposed 'dragon/phoenix' animal rug fragment that was purchased by george hecksher some years ago. That fragment was carbon-dated to the 14th century and that, plus thompson's unqualified opinion it was genuine, convinced hecksher to pony up the money to own it.

Once other people, including yours truly, voiced their opinions that it was a late copy, even hecksher knew he had bought a fake. Actually, like the dodds/LACMA rug, it was a later period reproduction, probably about 150-200 years old. But clearly it was a fake, just like theirs.

Perhaps the most curious fact about this whole story is LACMA's choice of experts to vet their purchase. Both denny and mackie are not carpet specialists, denny is noted for his Iznik ceramic knowledge and mackie for classical textiles. And while thompson is a carpetman, his acknowledged area is Turkmen, surely not Turkish. Plus his central involvement in the hecksher early dragon/phoenix fragment fiasco is no secret and surely something LACMA should have learned about.

In the end all this points to a critical lack of due diligence ms gluckman and her department displayed in their efforts to have the rug properly appraised.

Rk.com wonders if thompson, mackie, and denny to a lesser degree (since he can always demur and hide behind the fact he never saw it in person) will be called to task publicly for their roles? Will LAMCA now endeavor to correctly provenance their purchase? Will they accept responsibility and demand dennis dodds does as well?

Time will tell and it should be an interesting one to countdown. One thing you can be sure of is that RK.com will not, like that anonymous emailer told us, "...mind your own business." This is our business and don't forget that.

Author: jc
email:
Sun, Dec 19th, 2004 07:15:58 PM

Let me be extremely clear about something, it seems, should have been previously stated:

Using the phrase Early Turkish Rug in this post refers exclusively to town and village rugs produced prior to 1700.

Early Village/Town rugs (EVT rugs), which the dodds/LACMA piece tries to convince us it is, are far different from those woven in royal and otherwise sponsored ateliers. It is quite apparent EVT rugs made in 1600-1700 were copied later in the workshoppes and small factories that produced the majority of such rugs post 1750/1800.

Discerning the few real EVT rugs from the many later copies is difficult, particularly because some are 150-300 years old. But recognizing the existence of these later period copies should be within everyone's ability.

How old is the dodds/LACMA weaving? Until RK gets proper samples or is face to face with it, we will only say..."it ain't circa 1600, nor is circa 1700."

For the price LACMA paid, trust us on this one, it really should have been.

Author: jc
email:
Sun, Dec 19th, 2004 05:43:28 PM

The purchaser of record is the Los Angeles County Art Museum. This and the fact Ms Dale Gluckman championed the purchase within the museum is certain.

It is also a fact certain individuals outside LACMA were vocal in suppport of the purchase.

The price we quoted is also a fact, if mr dodds direct statement, which we reproduced verbatim, can be believed.

What is still unanswered is who these outside individuals were and what additional, if any, roles they played, financial or otherwise, in sheparding this lost lamb of a bo-peep rug into LACMA's manger.

Author: remeli
email:
Sun, Dec 19th, 2004 05:19:00 PM

Well well well. Seems Mr.Dodds offered to sell me this rug in 2001 for 175,000 US dollars. I subsequently received an email from him during a "sale" he was having. Mr Dodds informed me I could save 35,000 off the price of the piece and could pay over time. While I was viewing his collection, Mr.Dodds produced a smoked Tekke six gull torba (since I expressed interest in Turkman pieces),still pictured on cloudband, insisting it was circa 1800,which he felt was a bargain at 14,000. The generous dating of this piece, in addition to the wildly inflated asking price, immediately made me suspicious of the seller. I found Mr. Dodds completely preoccupied with money and attaining the highest possible prices for his pieces, irrespective of their merit. The entire experience was quite a let down. It is my sincere hope that the purchaser of the piece in question has the fortitude to follow-up on your suggestions and demand a full refund and apology from Mr. Dodds

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