RK.com has spoken three times with walter denny about the LACMA carpet and his role in helping the Museum decide to purchase it.
We have made public several of the statements denny has made to us and while we respect denny’s intelligence and his knowledge of Islamic Art, especially concerning early Turkish Ceramics, we do not hold his expertise about carpets in the same regard.
Before we stir up that kettle of fish let us mention denny’s doctoral thesis, which concerns the decorative ceramic tile work of the Mosque of Rustam Pasha in Istanbul, is one of the most brilliant works on Islamic Art we have ever had the pleasure of reading. It truly is of masterpiece proportions in our opinion.
However, sadly denny’s errors in judging the dodds carpet for LACMA were not nearly as laudable.
We do congratulate him on his willingness to admit his errors and to face the music for them.
That said we would like to emphasize even though denny admits his initial agreement to the 16th century idea dodds convinced the Museum his carpet was dated was very wrong and he has now stated for the record it is closer to mid-18th century, denny still supports the contention the carpet is a “masterpiece of it’s type” is “museum worthy” and is “something the Museum can be proud of”(the last two quotes from denny, the first is dodds’s).
RK.com has called into question all those ridiculous ideas and proven, to any unbiased observer, the validity of our evidence.
We have also rebuked denny for describing the rug as “pretty” and these issues need no further mention.
In the second of the three talks we have had with denny he made the following statement “I would surely take it over anything that was at the Met from ‘Orient Stars’.”
RK.com is has heard many outlandish remarks about Oriental Rugs over the years and, rest assured, there have heard some incredibly stupid ones.
That being the case, denny’s statement ranks only second to dodds’s quote in the LA Times article “It's one of the great carpets of this type in existence.".
We characterized this blatant piece of transparent sales-patter as the most preposterous and inane utterance about an Oriental Rug we had ever witnessed.
Sadly, denny’s reference to the Met’s showing real masterpieces of Turkish woven art from the Kirchheim collection comes a close second (Orient Star is the title of the book made to memorialize that collection and, while there is plenty of lesser woven art in that book, the few rugs shown at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York were the best of the collection).
We were nonplussed when we read what dodds said but, in all honesty, we were incredulous and floored by denny’s.
Pictured at the beginning of this post is one of those rugs and here is the second:
Was denny having a ‘senior moment’ or did someone spike his morning cup of java?
How anyone with even a smattering of carpet knowledge, let alone someone with 40 years of academic and professional activity in this field, could manage to make such a malapropism is beyond us.
Even giving denny the benefit of the doubt for trying to shore up his sinking reputation as a Turkish carpet savant for mistaking a mid-18th century rug as 16th century, could not prevent one from drawing the conclusion denny’s reputation as a carpet scholar and expert were merely built on sand and that those sands are now shifting, big time.
RK.com concedes comparing the LACMA rug with other re-entrant rugs to prove to some observers not familiar with early Turkish Village Rugs it is not anything close to what dodds claims, and denny appears to support might require written explanation.
But comparing the LACMA rug to the two Orient Stars rugs, which are arguably in the top ten earliest and greatest Turkish Village Rugs discovered in the last 50 years, requires no words unless the viewer would be blind in both eyes.
Denny has really outdone himself here, well actually done himself in would be more to the point.
Furthermore, in that same conversation we heard for the first time denny’s theory about the LACMA carpet’s place of origin. “It’s not like other rugs. I absolutely with assurance say it is Ladik” denny said emphatically.
Again RK.com cannot possibly see why denny would, as we have already remarked, stick his neck out that far, unless he suffers back-to-back ‘senior moments’ with regularity or his coffee maker came from Timothy Leary.