Home > Auctions worldwide >grogan Jan 2013 sale
Mon, Jan 21st, 2013 04:12:48 AM
Topic: grogan Jan 2013 sale

RK needs not confess to being a grogan-groupie. Attentive readers know we have little respect for mr grogan, both as a person and as a supposed rug expert. RK has in the past explained why we hold these opinions and anyone who is interested, or doubts what we say, is welcome to use our search engine to quickly locate what we have already written.

With our position on grogan already well documented we nonetheless cant help make a few comments before discussing the upcoming sale he has organized.

The first concerns grogans continuing penchant to mis-pronounce certain key rug words Sailor and not Salor for instance.

Now add to that enough mis-spellings in this catalog to make one ask if he is trying to outdo rippon-boswells detlef maltzahn, who is a serial rug term-maker-upper.

Why is grogan not using the accepted spellings for words like the Persian nomad group Khamsa -- grogan KHAMPSEH -- and the Turkmen bridal weaving asmalyk grogan AZMALYK?

RK has always found this type of trying to use the "real" spelling, and supposedly correct an erroneous one, annoying. Like, really now, does grogan think it is cute or makes him appear more rug-erudite?

If so let RK make it clear to him doing either is nothing but ignorant, as is pronouncing Salor as Sailor.

Rug studies are confusing enough, so lets at least keep to certain accepted terminology and spelling.

Another gorgan-ism we find equally as distracting is dating a host of examples in the sale circa 1900, particularly when there are several almost identical examples where one weaving is clearly older and better than the other but grogan dates them the same.

And before we move on, let RK correct grogan: The name of the famous collection he is selling a rug from is Meyer-Muller, not Meyer-Mullen.

OK, now off to the races.

Well, perhaps only figuratively since we see little in the sale that might cause galloping, spirited bidding. RK is not surprised there is not one really outstanding, exceptional rug in the sale, and only hype claiming there are.

The consignment from James Opie is nothing but the bottom of the barrel of his inventory/collection and the erik risman MAD Turkmen collection way under quality and way over-exposed after failing to sell at Christie London a short while ago.

Those two consignments, and a third from the Jerrehian family, supply most of the merchandise for the sale.

And while most of the lots from Opie and Jerrehian are pretty, decorative and somewhat collectible they would have sold far better 20 years ago.

The present state of affairs in rugDUMB are decidedly against pieces like these selling well, and RK would be glad to wager they will not return anything but at best a mediocre performance.

That said the estimated prices, and therefore presumably the reserves, are very reasonable, and we are fairly sure 40-50 percent or so will sell but only very close to the already almost price of dirt low estimates grogan has hung on them.

The later 19th to early 20th century Persian tribal weavings, in both the Opie and Jerrehian consignments, enjoyed a heyday 20 years ago but today, except for best of the best, these rugs are quite unappreciated by collectors.

RK is positive their results at the grogan sale will show this.

As for the risman 30 plus group of consigned Turkmen MAD weavings?

One might excuse an Opie or a Jerrehian for entertaining notions their rugs would sell well at grogans. But risman? Forget it, the guy is a thick as a brick and worse, hes brain-dead.

Does risman think grogan has tinkerbells magic wand, will wave it and all the mediocre risman collection lots will suddenly scare up a storm of bidding activity?

Forget it, not a chance. Few if any of the risman rugs will sell and what will sell will sell for dirt prices.

What a jokerisman is a clown. Hes cracked up to be a wealthy guy, so instead of getting embarrassed in public for a measly few thousand dollars hed do better throwing the collection into a basement closet and forget ideas hes a RUG Collector or heavens yet a Scholar, or that he will ever recoup the over-inflated prices he paid.

Sorry, erik risman, you made a complete fool out of yourself at Christies and grogan will be the same, only worse for now youre a 2-time loser.

RK has no desire to profile anything in the sale, the main reason being the merchandise is so mediocre and uninteresting we cant bear to waste energy on it.

But we will say selling 300 plus mediocre lots is a mistake, particularly in these times.

For us its clear grogan's erred and would have been far more successful at half that number.

Not to mention having had risman write something about Lebab in a preface to the catalog rather than grogan, the cataloguer, attributing any of those MAD (Ersari, Beshir, Kizil Ayak etc) weavings as Lebab. Doing so just makes grogan look as stupid and rug-ignorant as rismanso much for grogan the rug expert.

Lebab is babble. Why replace longtime accepted terminology (like Ersari, Beshir, Kizil Ayak, etc) for new unaccepted babble like rismans lebabble?

Names sell, this is sure.

But Lebab aint one yet, nor will it ever be.

And hanging it on any rug at auction is nothing but plain foolish; OK, maybe obstinate in rismans case.

Regardless of the Lebab attribution or not, rismans rugs at grogan's will again perform poorly. Then, perhaps, he will give up and finally go away taking Lebab with him?

Author: jc
Mon, Jan 21st, 2013 04:12:48 AM

As we reported it would be, the grogan sale was not very successful though it did record a 75% sale rate(unofficial).

Some are already calling this result, and the entire sale itself, a "success".

Really, a success when most of the lots sold for cheap to basically give-away prices? If this is truly so, then RK says such a success tarnishes the word beyond recognition.

There were no stars in the sale, hence the lack of any surprising results.

There was, however, a preponderance of mediocre "decorative" pieces in good condition, dealer inventory type merchandise, and these sold for prices that RK sees as "wholesale" rather than "retail".

Any active expert seller could have sold most of them for the prices they achieved, this auction's results are surely no feather in michael grogan's cap.

Remember: after taking into account grogan's auction house commissions and other charges the net prices opie, Jerrehian and risman will receive are, in our opinion, even below what they could have gotten themselves, or anywhere else, for their consignments.

So after all is said and done do you think grogan's auction was a success for anyone but michael grogan?

Author: jc
Sun, Jan 20th, 2013 07:57:49 AM

(We just watched lot 76 get passed at 7500.

Guess there were chemical dyes, the only possible reason for it not selling well and grogan's "mid-19th century date but another ruse, as it is pretty acknowledged a late 19th century attribution means the presence of chemical dye.

A mid-19th date by the same logic means no chemical dyes.

Got the picture?

Back to the sale)...


After reviewing all the lots in the sale, to be certain we have not missed anything, a final comment.

Lot 76, Borjalu Kazak

The only lot we see with a chance to perform exceptionally well is opies Borjalu Kazak(lot 76). Estimated at 10-20,000$, RK would not be surprised to see it make $75,000. Get the popcorn ready, race fans

Author: jc
Wed, Jan 16th, 2013 01:29:35 AM

Over the past few days RK has received email questioning if grogan is or is not correct in dating so many rugs in the sale circa 1900.

Frankly we do not see why knowledgeable viewers would question this, but perhaps those that have just need more education.

So lets provide some for them, mr. grogan included.

There are numerous comparisons but these Lesghi-star sumak bag, both in our opinion erroneously dated circa 1900, are one of the best examples. From the available information it is obvious they are not the same age, one is earlier; nor are they equally interesting, one is decidedly better.

Upper: middle Traditional period sumak bag; lot 11, grogan auction; Lower: early Traditional period sumak bag; grogan auction, lot 12

The earlier and the better of the two -- naturally lot 12 below -- belongs to a very small rare group of sumak khorjin, the copious use of sandy pink/red dyed wool a signature.

It is quite a good later example, however, it is far from a best of type. It is, though, in all respects much better than lot 11.

If they look the same to grogans eyes he needs new glasses.

Plus dating either circa 1900 is meaningless, as neither in our opinion was woven then, they should both be dated somewhat earlier. In any event, they are not the same age.

Nor are they alike in any other ways other than sharing a design, which is the least indicative evidence to base age or attribution.

Were complete structure, fiber and dye analyses available they, too, we are sure would support different origin and age.

One need not dwell on the scientific or minutiae of these khorjin to understand them. Lot 11 is boring and droll compared with earlier animated ones of the type.

And though the same criticism can be leveled at lot 12, it is far closer to best of the type than 11 could ever be.

Another point to note is: The two-dimension cookie-cutter style of drawing they both can be accused of possessing is far less apparent in lot 12 than lot 11.

For those who still are not convinced you need some additional homework, compare the borders.

Lot 11s outer flower border not nearly as colorful or well drawn as the multi-colored eight-pointed stars lot 12 sports. Further comparison of the narrow inner guard borders shows the far less common, might we say inventive, variant lot 12 once again displays compared to lot 11s standard lifeless version.

Yes it is sure both these sumak bags are later 19th century and as such exhibit (degenerative) design accretions and omissions sumak khorjins of this time period always exhibit.

However, occasionally new patterns do get generated, some few of these later patterns endure and, like earlier icons, experience many subsequent iteration.

Seeing how these newly minted designs come together can sometimes help us to understand the complicated processes of earlier periods of design development.

The four somewhat abstract but still recognizable animals in the four corners of the earlier khorgins inner square field are just such an addition. Those four animals are found in the same positions on other types of medallion sumak bags and, while RK usually does not see any merit in later period sumak bag one from column A and two from column B design schemes, in this instance, it works.

Note also the Lesghi-star is quite exceptionally articulated and proportioned, again far better than lot 11s much less refined drawing and style.

We believe thats enough to start disbelievers on the road to reality about these two sumak and grogans one size fits all dating and we will go no further to turn this into revealing our methodology for judging sumak khorjins.

Just for drill we will republish one of the earliest lesghi star sumak bags we know, and also for those of you with McMullens ISLAMIC CARPETS book handy check out Joes lesghi-star sumak khorjin. It is the one with multiple stars. Its another champion example.

early Classic period Lesghi star sumak khorjin; RK Collection; published Kelim Soumak Carpet and Cloth: Classic Weaving of the Caucasus, 1990; Weaving Art Museum online exhibition, 2004

Comparing subtle but telling differences the flower borders it and the grogan khorjin share, as well as every other feature they have on common, is a good exercise for education.

There is no doubt grogans two lesghi sumak khorjins are not the same age, nor as he states in the catalog are they both from the Caucasus.

RKd venture to say the earlier is from the Heriz area and, while the later might be also, we doubt it and would place its place of production north and west, still in Iran perhaps in Bijar?

It is almost impossible with the available information to properly date or attribute any older sumak khorjin to an exact location, especially so when the weavings are as very old as the WAMRI or Joe McMullen Lesghi khorjin.

Just for grins, were we asked wed date the WAMRI Lesghi khorjin wed say circa 1800, the McMullen circa 1825, the earlier grogan bag lot 12 circa 1860 and the later grogan bag lot 11 circa 1875.

But more interesting than dating Lesghi-star sumak khorjins is postulating where and how the design originated.

RK has for many years believed the Lesghi-star and the Star Kazak iconographies both were derived from this type of sumak bag.

Archaic period cross sumak khorjin; published Kelim Soumak Carpet and Cloth: Classic Weaving of the Caucasus, 1990; Weaving Art Museum online exhibition, 2004

We invite interested readers to spend some time examining how its intricate complex iconography could very possibly have spawned both those well-known Caucasian carpet themes.

Home   Buy/Sell at the Kazbah   Terms Of Service

© 2002/2019 rugkazbah.com ©