Home > Archive >denny's Dilemma Epilogue re: LACMA
Mon, Feb 14th, 2005 07:23:00 PM
Topic: denny's Dilemma Epilogue re: LACMA

Earlier this afternoon RK called walter denny and had, as always, a very pleasant, honest and open discussion with him. Denny is a very educated, charming and affable man and, throughout the period of time we have been acquainted, he has always proven those attributes.

From our conversation, which was specific and not general, RK now has direct quotes about how denny views the dodds/LACMA rug and would like to share them with you, our dear readers.

First off denny told us he spent “two hours with the rug”, which he told the museum he had to do if they wanted him to lecture about it. After this lengthy examination, denny unequivocally has the belief the rug dates in the period from 1650-1750. But he stressed only at the end of that continuum and not at the beginning.

Secondly he also unequivocally stated “the rug was made in Ladik” (a famous rug producing town and area) and, as such, was one of the oldest rugs of that type he knew of.

Thirdly he proudly said “it was one of the best, if not the best, Turkish rugs on view in any museum in America”. Adding to that rather remarkably outlandish statement denny went on to say "Surely it is better than anything that was shown in the Metropolitan Museum when the pieces from Orient-Stars were on there."

Rk listen carefully and did offer some rebuttal to denny’s three points, which we will also share.

As to the rug's probable age? We surely would not quibble with denny's stating it was circa 1750, even though we are sure that, too, might be still generous. Again, we'd prefer late 18th century, which is the date we have always maintained.

But what about denny's second, and in our estimation, highly specious idea the rug is from Ladik? To us this appears to be nothing more than an errant shot in the dark and frankly we are incredibly surprised denny has stuck his neck out that far. But pressure often causes mistakes/errors and we are sure denny was under great pressure concerning his role in the dodds/LACMA debacle.

We queried denny as to what characteristics the rug displayed to have brought him to such an off-the-wall position. He told us the warp depression was a Ladik feature.

We, of course, realize that and although warp depression is not unique to Ladik rugs (something denny admitted), we offered another possibility that he remained silent to after hearing.

Many later Turkish rugs, we are talking here of pieces produced post 1700, were made in workshops that in all intents and purposes were more like un-mechanized factories than the Town/Village/Clan circumstances in which earlier, and even some later, rugs were created. Having a good deal of warp depression definitely speeds up and facilitates the weaving process and this is our take on why the dodds/LACMA rug exhibits warp depression. It is an almost universal feature of weavings made in those circumstances. We. in no way, agree with the denny explanation, i.e. a Ladik provenance. He did offer some other, lesser points, which we also do not see as anything supportive of his Ladik provenance

As for denny's third statement, concerning Turkish rugs in American museums? Well, let's say we had to contain our self but as soon as denny finished we told him, in no uncertain terms, how ludicrous his belief was. In fact, some of the best Turkish pieces from the Orient-Stars collection were on public view at the Met and all of them are far superior to the dodds/LACMA rug - in terms of age, historical importance and beauty.

Actually we remarked to denny the LACMA rug couldn't be the water-boy on any team they were on and we found it amazing he could even harbor such a thought.

We were ready to continue but denny begged off further discussion citing a lack of time at the moment to pursue this call. When we mentioned we'd call him back sometime soon to continue it, denny said “sure”.

So that's it folks, according to denny the rug is circa 1750, made in Ladik, one of the oldest examples of that kind?, definitely a museum worthy piece and something LACMA could be proud of.

Nice spin, we'd have to say, but nothing that is in anyway salient. Nor it is anything dodds or LACMA can hang their hats on. Rather, to us, it just confirms our statements and continues to make us believe LACMA will continue to try and cover-up the fiasco purchasing that rug from dennis dodds has caused everyone concerned. That is everyone except dodds - well at least for the moment.

Author: jc
Mon, Feb 14th, 2005 07:23:00 PM

As astounding as denny's recanting his age guesstimate of the LACMA carpet was, the apparent ‘so-what’ impression it has made on many of the mini-minds who call themselves rug collectors, dealers and interested parties is even more so.

In fact we spoke to someone this afternoon who told us he had received an email from one of the internut rug pundits (yes that's right internut) who flatly stated even if mackie and thompson join denny in re-appraising and re-dating the rug to circa 1750 it doesn't mean a thing. Doesn’t mean a thing? Well is this stupidity or just plain ole brain-dead lock-stepping with supposed "experts"?

Our respondent went on to tell of how this pundit then explained since dodds didn't purposely lie or deceive LACMA all is OK in rugdom.

It might be so in his rugdom but surely it ain't in our or in any of the other thinking folks who know enough and have enough confidence in their own opinions to smell what's rotten in Denmark.

Speaking of people who know what a travesty having the dodds rug hanging in Los Angeles in one of the world's premier Art Museums, we heard from several attendees at the tribal-art cum rug-fest in San Francisco that alan marcuson was quite vocal about this subject. Seems marcuson, who knows more than most about historic Turkish rugs, is almost as disgusted as RK is concerning dodds's rug's new home.

We know there are many others, like marcuson, who know what a fiasco LACMA is fueling by refusing to admit their mistake, confront dodds with at least denny's re-dating the rug to circa 1750 - not to mention the other now proven fallacious statements he made in his sales-pitch to the curator, dale gluckman - and set the record straight.

There is little doubt dodds is in a precarious position but the fact museums, in particular "important" ones, rarely like to publicly admit their mistakes is the one pillar of support he is clinging to.

Nice work, dodds, keep clinging tight and maybe you'll make it.

As for dodds? RK can only say what a fool he is to continue to hope LACMA will bury their embarrassment and mistake in buying that rug from him in the sub-basement rather than admit his error in lumbering them with a dud of a rug that has been kicked around in the marketplace for 20 years with no real buyer showing any interest.

RK imagines a lout like dodds would rather have the money, $250,000, and go down in history as the purveyor of a boring, late period reproduction Turkish re-entrant rug (that is about as charming as selling a classic comic book as a rare first edition) than fess up and admit he made an error in calling his rug “16th century” and a “masterpiece” of Turkish Art. It is neither.

Such is the honor and pride of the chairman of the icoc and of the rug world in general. RK says it’s time for the rug world to take a stand and call dodds to justice for such greedy and egregious behaviour.

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