Home > LACMA's Questionable Rug Purchase >Smoking Gun re: LACMA Rug Part II
Tue, Jan 18th, 2005 05:12:00 PM
Topic: Smoking Gun re: LACMA Rug Part II

Here is the description of the rug that appeared in German in the Bausback catalog and the English translation below:

“Due to the design one would have to say this is a village carpet from Anatolia but it is much fine woven and not so coarse as other village carpets. It belongs to a group of Ushak carpets with open fields, which were woven in the city of Ushak in the 17th century.

The large red inner field has been separated into three main fields. The middle field creates a rectangle on which above and below an octagon is connected and which is filled with small octagon medallions. This design (ed. the two ghirlandio-type medallions) can be found in many village carpets, for example the Bergama carpet plate 96 in McMullan’s book “Islamic Carpets”.
ex-McMullan Collection

The large rectangle that is in the center field here contains a white medallion with very geometric flowers. There are ten light blue and yellow flower motif around this small medallion, connected to each other with simple lines. We frequently find this centralized ornament in the inner field in later Anatolian carpets.

The entire inner field lies on a green ground colored border, which has been decorated with beautiful multi-colored swastikas. The corner pieces are made up of stripes of small-connected triangles. The main border contains an interesting design of upright flowers connected in an undulating form. We find this design in the so-called Lotto carpets, which are contemporary, where it appears in yellow.

The upper and lower ends form horizontal guard stripes, comparable to the elem on Turkmen carpets. The dark aubergine occurs frequently in Anatolian carpets.

During a visit to a museum in Istanbul I found an identical example, which was also dated to the 17th century. The weave, design and colors were identical to this carpet.

Literature: M.S. Dimand ,,Oriental Rugs in the Metropolitan Museum of Art”, New York 1973, page 223, a similar piece"
ex-Ballard Collection

Perhaps we will discuss the somewhat tenuous relationship dodds’s rug has with these other two examples later. For now let us say Ballard’s re-entrant is probably mid-to-late 18th century and while not a masterpiece or a museum piece it is leagues better than dodds’s. The McMullan rug is at best circa 1800 and, though it is an early example of its type, we’d rather have a Kazak weaving of the same age and design. But compared to the LACMA/dodds rug it, too, is far more genuine and honest a weaving than the jumble of pastiche elements lifted from other, earlier, re-entrant examples reproduced by the weaver of dodds’s dud.

Since the Bausback exhibition was held in October of 1981, dodds’s claim to have had it for more than 25 years, like many of the others he uttered about it, is questionable.

RK.com spoke directly with Peter Bausback, a longtime rug-acquaintance, and was told the following:
“My firm purchased this carpet from a south German collection. We offered it for around $30,000 in the exhibition. I do not remember who we sold it to but I do feel it went to a collector.”

When we asked Peter if that was dennis dodds, he chuckled and said no. We then asked Peter if he knew where the carpet was now or what had happened to it recently. He said he had no idea and when we told him dodds had recently sold it to LACMA for $250,000, he chuckled again and said “ Ah, very good.”

At that point we told him that isn’t very good as the rug is not a museum piece, circa 1600 or worth such a large amount of money. Peter than said “…there should be a carbon-date…” to decide such questions and when we explained to him the lack of validity C14 dating has for rugs like this, he chuckled again, said he had another call waiting and we said our goodbyes.

RK has some other ideas about where the rug was before dodds got it but, as these have yet to be proven as fact, we will not mention them until they are substantiated.

No doubt the rug was in dodds's stash for some years and not "openly" offered for sale, as it was lately.

Like most not-know-enough dealers, who like to show the "private collection" to elicit offers, or "opinions" from others recognized as more knowledgeable, RK can vouch from experience had anyone wanted it dodds would have gladly and quickly obliged.

But alas, that scenario didn't play out and after schlepping it around to several “shows”dodds successfully unloaded it last year to gluckman and LACMA.

Should we say Bravo or Boo? Guess you all know our response, and also what yours should be, right.

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