The second half of the rippon-boswell dispersal of the pinner collection was entitled : “Lesley & Robert Pinner "Study Collection"”.
RK would like to ask the boswells, since pinner is no longer around to answer the question first-hand, what is, or perhaps better put was, to study here? Of the 56 pieces offered only one, lot 17:
had any merit, the rest, sadly, had almost zero interest for anyone who might call themselves a ‘Turkmen rug collector’.
Rug collecting is oft-times a closet case activity, as many ‘collectors’ in this field are afraid to show or publicly share their collections. Some do this to ‘protect’ the ‘freshness’ of their acquisitions so when they re-sell their ‘collection’ the ‘market’ will not have already seen them.
This modus operandi might have some validity for ‘investors’ but RK has never seen this rational for anyone calling themselves a ‘collector’.
Others, like a former ‘client of mine who once said “I really enjoy talking about rugs with you, just not mine”, fear what someone else will say about their ‘collection’. This is, in RK’s opinion, bordering on paranoia, for if the other person’s opinion is valid, why fear it?
Well, that said we all realize ‘the truth hurts’ and in rug collecting the truth, while rarely spoken, does have a powerful ring to it.
Witness how the proving the presence of a synthetic dye has destroyed the ‘love’ affair with a piece many a ‘collector’ might once have held dear.
Getting back to pinner and his collection if pieces like these were what he considered his “study collection” RK believes his ‘reputation’ as a leading expert on Turkmen weaving be seriously re-analyzed, as there was nothing to study here.
We believe experts should be judged on what they do, rather than what they say. And what they say should be carefully judged and not just taken as “fact”.
RK met mr pinner in 1974 and over the 30 years since then has witnessed his elevation by the rug world to a “god-like” status. Yes, pinner was high profile in the icoc but what exactly did pinner do?
His collection, at least that which ended up in part I and II at the boswells, was surely not earth-shattering in its quality, considering pinner was seriously collecting since the early 70’s and had the money to buy what he wanted.
In fact, most of the best pieces were purchased by his wife, Leslie, before her untimely passing in the late 70’s and what was added afterwards was not nearly as interesting, important or beautiful.
Then what about pinner’s published writings on Turkmens? Well, if you’d judge him based on his latest work, the text for the Weidersperg catalog - Between the Black Desert and the Red - one would have to consider him to be nothing more than another rug-writing wind-bag.
To say the text accompanying Wolf Weidersperg’s collection is far below the quality the collector himself set for his acquisitions would be the most polite way to characterize what pinner and Eiland produced.
Fortunately for both of them their contributions were lumped together and it is impossible to tell who wrote what.
RK read what these two rug ‘names’ wrote and while Weidersperg was not the most knowledgeable we feel he would have done a much better job of it than pinner and Eiland managed.
Actually, the text is a disaster, a true bunch of hot-air and wind. There is not one original idea, or even one worthwhile observation, expressed in the 144 page catalog and, were Weidersperg’s collection not illustrated, the text pinner and Eiland wrote would be only suitable for fire-starting or some unmentionable bath-room usage should Charmin go out of business.
But, regardless of fact, the rug-world will go on glorifying pinner and turn it’s Cyclops-proportioned blind-eyes away from the truth.
History has a way of sorting out the posers from the creators.
Even though pinner expended a lot of activity in rugdom, and drew his ‘reputation’ from that activity, what he left behind, like the majority of his collection and all of his ‘study collection’(save lot 17), will not, in RK’s opinion, stand the test of time.
No doubt pinner had smarts but unfortunately that intellect should have remained in the world of physical science and not in the art world.
Some say it is unfair to comment negatively on those who have departed but, in a case like pinner’s, to remain silent and accept the ‘status quo’ is perhaps even worse than mouthing more false praise.