Home > BULLETIN >Part 2: New Improved issue of that rag hali
Wed, May 8th, 2013 09:54:26 AM
Topic: Part 2: New Improved issue of that rag hali

In our continuing commentary and critique of the new issue of that rag hali we felt it pertinent to add some words about the Boston Museum of Fine Arts exhibiting rugs from local area collections.

For those of you who dont know this museum has one of the finest collections of textiles in America, the majority of which were donated long years ago by Denman Waldo Ross.

It is definitely worth the trip for anyone who is a serious student or researcher of textile art.

Now onto a far more prosaic subject: Rugs from the rudnick collection on view at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts

Over the past few years, the latest issue of that rag hali informs readers, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts(BFA) has mounted several somewhat informal shows of oriental carpets.

The latest displays six Caucasian pile rugs from the collection of mitchell and rosalie rudnick, whose names should be familiar to most rug collectors.

The rudnicks, the article relates, have been collecting for thirty years. RK should add far more of their collection was exhibited at the Boston acor conference about ten years ago.

There are also a number of their pieces illustrated in a publication called Through the Collectors Eye which memorialized a carpet exhibition of the same name held in Rhode Island at the Rhode Island School of Design(RISD) in 1991.

RK has written about the rudnicks and their collection before and are sure our faithful longtime readers will recall our comments.

We must say we are somewhat surprised the BFA is exhibiting rugs from private collections, as for many reasons this practice is mostly frowned upon by other institutions.

And almost always the only time private collections are shown is when there is a pledge to donate, in full or part, to the exhibiting institution.

Or, less often the case, when the institution is trying to covet good will with collectors they want to become donors, either of their collections, financial support, or both.

RK does not know if this is the situation to bring the rudnicks rugs to the hallowed rotunda area of the BFA.

Frankly, we would not be surprised if it were because we have heard rosalie rudnick has some health problems, and there is nothing like facing the grim reaper to make one think about a collections future.

Obviously, it is the wish of most collectors to have their collection enter a museum and since oriental rugs are not exactly a hot issue in the museum world more are selling, ie deacquisitioning, than are buying ie acquisitioning, it is a problematic one for rug collectors.

And this trend does not appear to be diminishing, in fact it is accelerating, making it even more difficult.

There are a number of reasons for this which RK has heard from museum curators and professionals, not the least of which is space rugs are big; curatorial issues no one knows much about them; contamination issues bugs like rugs; reputation rug dealers are not professional. And these render the subject a must to avoid for many museum professionals.

So RK commends the BFA for their decision to buck the trend and exhibit carpets and textiles, for whatever reasons have motivated them.

The six rudnick rugs now hanging in the temporary exhibition are some of the best from their large collection.

And while we have little respect for the rudnicks after having had some close contact with them in the 1980s, when we witnessed first hand what a big-mouth, know-little madame is and what a mouse in the house mr rudnick is, the glowing accolades the article shoves in their direction appear to us to be completely misdirected.

After an intensive period of study that rag hali tells everyone they (the rudnicks) found their passion early 19th century Caucasian rugs with village roots.

Most rug collectors start out collecting Caucasian rugs because they are plentiful, easy to understand, and well published.

However, and this is pretty much a fact, collectors who are advanced, intelligent, independent, and able to walk a path without having their hand held invariably end up moving past their Caucasian rug habit and moving on to either Anatolian village rugs or Turkmen weavings.

Or, in cases where a large thick wallet in the collectors pocket is a greater commodity than intellectual curiosity and art sensitivity into classical Ottoman and Safavid carpets.

RK, from that time of personal experience with the rudnicks, is not surprised they did not move on, and while we heard some years ago mitchell is buying Turkmen pieces we doubt seriously this ever happened past a minor foray or two on his part.

We are not downing the oeuvre -- Caucasian rugs -- some few of them are really worthwhile but basically we see them, and so does expert art historical analysis, as derivative far less original works than Anatolian or Turkmen weavings. Both of which granted are far more difficult to understand and appreciate.

They require a very high level of connoisseurship.

Caucasian rug dont, and this is all we are trying to get across.

Their (the rudnicks) philosophy was not to acquire every type, or a pile of rugs from one area; instead they wanted to create a collection with a sense of artistic merit.

Following this explanation of credo rudnick that rag hali tells They have certainly achieved that goal.

Artistic merit, beauty and I like it are all varying levels of subjectivity; they are opinion, surely not fact.

So while the rudnicks, that rag hali and joe blow might believe there is artistic merit in the rudnicks collection RK does not necessarily follow suit.

Now mind you the rudnicks, thanks to mitchells inheritance -- he inherited a successful shoe business and later sold it as the story is told -- bagged a few really top flight Caucasian rugs.

They also have many more that are not so exemplary.

And as far as their knowledge-base? Well when we last chose to really have a conversation with them, circa 1989, they did not impress us with their rug savvy.

And honestly we would be surprised if they have progressed much since then. But accidents do happen.

It is fitting the article continues that the MFA has chosen the Rudnicks carpets for its current exhibition it recognizes an important New England collection and a couple who have contributed much to the rug world.


What pray tell have the rudnicks done for the rug world other than feather their own nest, enrich several dealers who sold them their collection, and organize events where they were the centerpiece or at least one of them?

And not to our knowledge have the rudnicks ever written anything to further oriental rug studies, or even tried.

So much for any idea their contribution is anything but one more of that rag hali's empty utterances.

Ms Rudnick, and two other local collectors, resuscitated the New England Rug Society, and then she, according to what the article states, guided it through its first eight years.

OK, she did that, and then ran it like her own, personal, fiefdom. Something given, a lot taken, might be the way to describe such a contribution.

For many years Rosalie has been an important presence in the rug community.

Well, please you twits and hypesters who work at publishing this over-complimentary drivel show us what important presence rosalie rudnick bestowed on the rug community?

You cant.

Thats the issue here and why RK feels the need to set the record straight.

Stories abound about ms rudnick oversized ego and rabid passion to be a rug personality, and RK has a few to tell ourselves.

But why bother as the gospel that rag hali hath spoken, and all ears will only hear their ridiculous praise of this big-mouth, know-little, woman and her husband who bankrolled her desire to be a somebody in rugDUMB.

And, dear readers, that places this quote from the article much more correctly, They have certainly achieved that goal.

Oh, and before we move on to equally as questionably reportage wed like to ask the rhetorical question: Is an overly restored, and not very good of its type, star Kazak something that has artistic merit.

And if so to whom does any meritorious compliment go the original weaver or the restorer?

Star Kazak, rudnick collection

PS: for those readers who dont know this is the rudnick star Kazak james, aka generous jim, burns pronounced a fake when he saw it.

Mr burns was wrong, it is not a fake.

Its a kazak that has more new repiling than original knots.

RK has written about it, see no star Star Kazak in the Caucasian Rugs Topic Area to read the full story.

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