Home > Hot Button Issues >Beautiful but lacks soul: post-epilogue
Fri, Jul 26th, 2013 03:31:10 AM
Topic: Beautiful but lacks soul: post-epilogue

So the dust has fallen and the sickle-leaf rug is presumably on its way to its new home or already ensconced therein. But the hype continues, in fact it grows, and grows.

Somehow after selling for such an immense sum, gosh as much as a painting (but still not in the league of a great painting like a Van Gogh or a Leonardo), long dead and gone senator Clarke's carpet's 'importance', and reputation, continues to increase.

Forget the fact it is really not that great, not only according to us but also to the authors of the highly respected "Eastern Carpet in the Western World" catalog.

RK quoted it sometime ago but let us repeat what they said here, once again:

"This exquisite rug has the same technical characteristics as the vase rugs and its field and border designs are closely related to the earliest examples of that class. But the swelling blossoms of the vase rugs are here reduced and the energy of the design has been transferred into the pairs of sickle-leaf leavesThe present design lacks the severe internal logic of the vase designand is a sophisticated hybridizationthe main stems bearing the sickle-leaves and large blossoms meander inconsequentially, intersecting with a variety of trees and shrubs depicted on a much smaller scale, as if the garden landscape were glimpsed through a tangle of briars.”

Well, they did say it is "exquisite", even if it were " a landscape glimpsed through a tangle of briars".

So you decide, but don't fall into the briar patch.

Likewise, don't be swayed by the hype and exaggeration both sotheby, who had some skin in the game as the seller collecting at the least a very healthy buyer's premium--if not more, and that rag hali, who had no skin in the game but acts like they did.

Perhaps the best and most interesting event of the sale was, at 16 million, mary jo otsea, acting as auctioneer, flummoxed and called out 16,ooo. Then, realizing her error blurted out a dopey "Sorry, I'm not used to all this".

Right she was, otsea is not used to anything other than place holding a chair that says carpet 'expert'.

Well, not to say all her predecessors RK has known: first Kurt Igler, then John Edelman, then michael grogan, then william ruprecht knew a whole hill of beans more than she.

So now a carpet has been catapulted to the nose-bleeding heights of thirty million dollars and most of rugDumb continues to rub its eyes and try to figure out what this means to them -- you know, the bottom line 'what's my stuff worth' -- what's next?

Just a word of reality here, and RK's not trying to burst anyone's bubble.

Remember the bidding seemingly would have stopped at around ten million had peter pap's money-man, right the guy who put the 29 million dollar paddle in pap's sweaty palms, not gotten himself into a nationalistic tizzy trying to prove his patriotism by bidding to keep the sickle-leaf in America.

Frankly, RK sees this as bogus as we do having a rug schlepper, know-little, like peter pap, as a trusted advisor.

Lastly, one thing RK is willing to bet a handful of sand against a stack of benjamins. Had you, me or even p.p. pap wheeled the sickle-leaf carpet into money man's living room and asked him to purchased it for a million you can be sure he would have said "thanks but no thanks".

Auction fever can be a heady brew, especially when a feeling of jingoistic fervor is a major ingredient in the mix.

To quote Richard/Jagger "it's the singer not the song".

Nitey, nite Gracie.

Author: jc
Fri, Jul 26th, 2013 03:31:10 AM

Greetings Beau:

RK is surprised at most of your comments, not because of what you said but because of what WE said.

After the sale, in fact 10 days after the sale, we posted here in RugKazbah.com, in this very place, our RETRACTION of the comments we made about peter pap's role in the auction of the sickle leaf carpet.

It is in the epilogue. Go read it.

And, yes, "life does go on".

PS: The fact you, or anyone else, thinks the sickle leaf carpet is the greatest thing since sliced bread does not change exactly where it fits in the compendium of "classical" Persian carpets. What was said about it in the "Eastern Carpet in the Western World" publication is a far more accurate judgement than the hype filled praise sotheby, hali, and all others have declared.

And just for drill, to put your comments about it into proper perspective, the Brunk carpet as well as the large pattern Holbein sold by Finarte in Milan -- both rugs bought by Tabibnia Gallery -- clearly out class the Clark/Corcoran Gallery of Art sickle leaf.

Also, for your information, the 9 million dollar carpet sold at Christie's in London was not "picked" in France. It was sold by an auction gallery located in Germany by a woman who had owned it for decades and consigned it for sale there.

After the sale in London, when she found out the carpet sold for 9 million, she sued the auctioneer.

She lost the case.

Rumors abound as to who bought it in Germany and then turned immediately around and consigned it to Christies.

The best of the rumors are focused on a German rug dealer we all know.

Lucky him...

Author: Beau Ryan
email: [email protected]
Thu, Jul 25th, 2013 08:09:59 PM

RK Replies:

We have had our webmaster add the line spacings in your post to facilitate reading.


PS Sorry for the "run on" post, Meant to break up the paragraphs but forgot

Author: Beau Ryan
email: [email protected]
Thu, Jul 25th, 2013 08:05:23 PM

Jack, long time no speak.

Well let me toss my two cents into the $33M pot so to speak.

I disagree with a number of things. First of all, I know for a fact who Peter's client (the underbidder) was.

And, anyone who deals with this person knows that it makes complete sense for him to have bid on this.

Not only has he bid on and purchased many very good carpets, both at auction and face to face, he is a voracious and knowledgable buyer with what is perhaps the worlds greatest and most diverse private collection of art and antiques in the world!!

He buys across the board and I highly doubt that this is the most hes ever paid for anything.

Secondly, speculating that Peter was "working with the bidders agent to drive the price up" is a bit like the conspiracy geeks who think that Stanley Kubrick filmed Neil Armstrongs walk on the moon on a backlot in LA. youre smarter than that Jack.

When I first saw this rug, I thought that it was one of the most beautiful and stunning rugs I've ever seen.

And I hadnt seen it in person. my number fore carpet was $27 million.

I told that to Mary Jo 10 days before the sale and to several others as well. To me, that rug transcends just rugs and as a piece of "Islamic Art" is head and shoulders above anything that has come onto the open market in memory.

I think it IS good for the rug market.

I also give kudos to at least one American (the underbidder} and the winning bidder (who has yet to be spoken about) for not only having the conviction and taste to be willing to pay what top pieces of Contemporary Art sell for, for a rug that is the best piece that anyone has been in a position to acquire on the open market.

Just think, the record prior to this was $9,000,000 for the piece two years ago that was picked in France, and prior to that any carpet over $1,000,000 was a huge fuss.

Well $1,000,000 doesnt buy you a decent entry level piece of Contemporary Art.

But now at least two players have said "why not pay top dollar for the best of the best, instead of buying a Warhol or a Richter or a Twombly?"

This cant but help the market and quite frankly Jack, as you own some of the most significant tribal and collectable pieces in private hands, it should not only raise the value of your collection, but the saleability as well.

Just remember that there are now many smart people with money who believe (correctly IMHO) that buying the best in any category, whether it's real estate, art, or even rugs, makes more sense than buying a lot of more mediocre pieces.

Hope you are well wherever you are. Life goes on!!!

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