Home > Auctions worldwide >Eulogizing the Vok Collection Part 2
Wed, Apr 1st, 2015 03:48:27 AM
Topic: Eulogizing the Vok Collection Part 2

To say RK was the original kelim collector is surely hype but to say RK was collecting kelim in 1970 when hardly anyone else was is fact.

It is also fact we blazed a path and shared our enthusiasm, research and collections with many others who then got on the bandwagon and became kelim collectors themselves.

RK was the prime mover of raising appreciation for Anatolian Kelim beginning in 1980. We organized James Mellaart, Belkis Balpinar and udo hirsh to work with us to present research on the importance and historic roots of the Anatolian Kelim weaving tradition and funded the publishing project that was tentatively entitled 2000 Years of Anatolian Kelim.

When, as we have explained in our Anatolian Kelim Opus which can be read here, http://rugkazbah.com/boards/records.php?id=1926&refnum=1926,
we eventually realized James Mellaart had allowed his fantasies to over ride his professionalism we passed the project on to Johnny Eskenazi and it was renamed the Goddess from Anatolia.

WE then published our own book Image Idol Symbol: Ancient Anatolian Kelim" in 1989.

Several years after its publication we wrote and published Cult Kelim which detailed our research in Egypt and made public a small group of previously unknown kelim weavings in Cairos Islamic Museum that were supposedly discovered in Fustat, Egypt and date circa 300 900A.D.

WE mention the above to establish our credentials as a kelim researcher, collector and connoisseur. This gives us both the perspective and position to make the following comments concerning the rubbish and complete hyperbole written about Mr Ignatius Vok, his kelim collection, and its upcoming dispersal at the first of three rippon-boswell sales.

In the catalog there are three preface written by Johnny Eskenazi, Vok himself and detlef maltzahn the owner of rippon-boswell and auctioneer.

WE will not comment on what Vok wrote as it is but a summation of his life as a collector in various fields.

However, the fact he has not penned one word about the kelim he collected is fantastically telling.

What is says loud and clear, not that we did not know this prior to the announcement of his dispersal sale and the publication of this catalog, is that Vok was an armchair collector. Who relied on others to help him decide what to buy, and whose relationship to his kelim started and stopped at liking them and looking at them as he would a painting by an unknown artist about a subject he did not understand or know anything about.

In other words Vok was but another willing wallet-opener who got caught up in the kelim fever RK was instrumental in starting. Now Vok has had enough and is dumping his collection under the bogus as a three dollar bill guise of casting his kelim to the same winds that blew them to him so other enthusiasts might have them

Enough of Ignatius Vok on himself.

Johnny Eskenazi recounts his nostalgic first meeting with Vok which might be the only part of his saccharin-sweet homage to someone he calls life-long friend and one of the most eclectic and refined collectors in the art world that is not specious.

While rugdumb is a small place the art world is a far, far bigger one and though Eskenais Vok auction catalog preface is full of grossly over-stated comments this one is perhaps the most obvious. We are not going to mention the other collections Vok has assembled we'll let Johnny do it below but if Eskenazi is correct then the other collections must be as vacant in masterpieces as Vok's kelim collection is.

Ignazio Vok has spent most of his life assembling collections in diverse fields, from Chinese porcelain to Renaissance bronzes; from Japanese modern lacquer, glass and calligraphy to early Chinese furniture; from modern to old master paintings, not to mention unusual objects of all kinds and, of course, vintage wines. But his greatest achievement is probably his collections of kilims and suzani, amongst the very best ever put together.

WE are of course only speaking about Voks kelim, which are not even slightly comparable to the Suzani he managed to acquire.

Voks kelim collection is second rate at best, and at worst not worth that second look by anyone who is a kelim connoisseur and expert.

Eskenazi is also pounding the hype bass-drum when he exclaims Vok was able to assemble them at a time when such great treasures were abundant and largely unrecognised, an impossible feat today.

Vok, like herwig bartels, Johannes Wolf, Georgie Walton and others might have been on the scene when it was breaking open but they all were not knowledgeable enough to bag any of the extremely small number of kelim masterpieces.

Sorry, Johnny, what Vok has is no better than those collectors mentioned above or others come-lately collectors like norbert prammer and many others.

Eskenazi also pronounces Vok possesses an understanding of beauty and his formidable taste, influenced by his architectural studies and knowledge of art history and design are supported by a natural appreciation of proportion and colour combination. This understanding has enabled him to choose exceptional art with ease, determination and the unique vision that recurs throughout all his collections.

Sorry again Mr Eskenazi but Voks kelim are nothing anyone with a prudent and sharp eye and understanding of the idiom would characterize as you just have.

Perhaps Eskenazis ardour to praise Vok is the result of his having been the purveyor of some, or it is many, of the Vok pieces?

As usual it is not hard to see the transparent self-interest shining through Eskenazis flattering and laudatory words.

In concluding Eskenazi relates Taste was not enough; Ignazio is liked and admired by other collectors, thanks to his joyous, generous and appreciative personality. This resulted in the respect of professional dealers and connoisseurs who have advised him all along and who have become valued friends. He has shared his infectious enthusiasm, presenting his collections in elegant publications and unusual and extraordinary exhibitions.

Those professional dealers and connoisseurs made a good living off Vok and could it possibly be that Voks real reason for selling his kelim is not to cast them back into the winds but to unload them?

Time will tell if Vok will sell his other collections as readily as he has made clear with consigning his kelim to rippon-boswell. Were he too it might negate RKs suspicion.

And could the fact be that respect for Vok is totally due to his having spent oodles with certain dealers and invited them and other collectors to the extravagant parties he threw to announce his kelim collection and publication?

RK never attended, nor did we try in any way to have any contact with Ignatius Vok, someone we saw as just another rug-stooge who believed the big names of rugdumb like Eskenazi and Hermann or the alleged bright lights of kelim scholarship like rageth, hirsch, frauenknecht and others were in fact anything but low candle-power self-interested salesmen of their kelim-wares.

As for detlef maltzahns preface? It is as full of nonsense hyperbole as Eskenazis, perhaps even more so considering this absurdity Vok developed a particular appreciation of Islamic textiles, evolving into one of the greatest collectors of our time in this field.

Please now Mr maltzahn put down the crack-pipe and open your peepers. Vok one of the greatest collectors? Hardly ha ha, detlef, youre not talking to one of your neophyte open-their-wallet- collectors who believes you are anything but a rug salesman and auctioneer skilled in the art of pulling bids off the back wall and empty chairs on the third floor of Friedrichstrasse 45.

Following in cadence is this: Vok has declined purchase offers by museums or private collectors for the whole collection or individual items.

Oh yeah? Go prove it maltzahn, RK will be glad to bet you 10,000 euro Vok got not one offer to buy his collection from any museum or private collector. He might have gotten an offer or two for a piece but no one on this green planet, or any museum, could possibly have made any such proposal.

WE have called him full of crapola numerous times when he has tried to provenance a weaving and now RK is calling maltzahn a liar with a capital L.

WE have already predicted a disaster sale percentage and euro total for the Vok kelim in rippon-boswells sale, or in the following two others that are planned. RK stands on our pronouncement.

WE must add our comments above are based on our opinion as we see the facts and there is in no way any jealousy or sour-grapes behind them.

Author: jc
Wed, Apr 1st, 2015 03:48:27 AM

Opinions are flying like geese after a shotgun blast concerning the fate of the Vok collection dispersal sale part one at rippon-boswell.

Overwhelmingly they side with RK and not with the optimistic detlef maltzahn, who apparently will be in for a disappointing surprise if the majority siding with RK are correct and the extreme minority siding with him and his opportunistic estimates are proven wrong.

One thing is sure Vok paid considerably more, we have heard at least 2-3 times the estimates, to acquire a majority of the pieces up for grabs on April 11th.

As always upsets do happen and long odd favorites don't always make it to the finish line in first place.

But considering the facts of this sale RK is willing to bet dollars to donut-holes the sale percentage will be considerably less than 50% unless maltzahn sells many pieces for half and less than the high estimates.

Failing to do this and sticking to his usual 10-15% below the low estimate reserve will result in many passed lots.

We have heard a quietly whispered rumor Vok wants everything to sell and is contemplating letting maltzahn do what he wants to make that happen.

However, we doubt maltzahn will willingly on sale day destroy his usual modus operandi and allow successful bidders to pay far less than the low estimates.

RK opines he will rather let many items get passed on sale day in the hopes he can then sell them quietly and privately for much less after the sale.

The only problem with this faulty strategy is the lack of a genuinely buoyant marketplace for "good" but not great kelims and suzani.

And this marketplace will surely not be eager to acquire such goods after they have failed to preform in the sale, regardless of the discounts offered.

Time will, of course, tell and all this is speculation but RK is willing to put our money where our mouth is..any takers?

Author: jc
Fri, Mar 20th, 2015 02:16:28 PM

Part three of RK's "Eulogizing the Vok Collection" appears in the Hot Button Issues Topic Area of RugKazbah.com.

Have a read if you have not already...

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