Home > Rug, Kelim, Soumak, Textile Post Archive >the rudnick collection dispersal
Sun, Nov 13th, 2016 01:56:34 AM
Topic: the rudnick collection dispersal

Rudnick, a name that is probably familar to most ruggies will perhaps be even more so thanks to their decision to sell the collection assembled from the middle 1980's on by this married couple.

The ruGnicks, as RK liked to call them, were along with another gruesome twosome -- marshall and marilyn wolf -- the fortunate possessors of an inherited fat wallet and two noggins that decidedly lacked real oriental carpet collecting expertise. The rugnick collection demonstrates this well.

While there is nothing inherently bad about their 19th century. early-middle-but-surely-not-late, Caucasian pile rugs neither is there anything particularly great.

Way back before then these rugs were highly sought after by 'collectors'. However, since the beginning of the 1980's, when far earlier weavings started to dribble out of Turkey and into European and American collector's hands, they were eclipsed.

And well eclipsed they eventually became in the eyes of those aware enough to see how poorly 19th century Caucasian rugs stacked up against these earlier weavings. Now, they actually are pass among almost all top collectors, but the furnishing market continues and if the stars align will kite a few of the rugnick lots to double and triple estimates. Maybe more, but don't hold your breath.

However, had the rugnicks sold their collection before they made it, that sale would have been wildly successful. Of course RK is being facetious, for how could someone sell something before they owned it?

We are not off the money, or being pejorative in stating the rugnicks were far removed from the cutting edge of rug colleting. Had they not been the collection they could have formed would be hotly contested at auction today. Too bad they missed that boat.

Back to facts: The market place for the weavings they are selling has diminished both in numbers of possible buyers and their desire to own such weavings.

Granted, the estimated prices are reasonable, but probably half of what they actually paid. And we all know estimates, especially low ones, are nothing but come-ons to stimulate buyer interest. Sale day will tell the real story.

We are sure the sale will have a good percentage, surely 75% sold, but the prices will be around the estimates. This translates into a loss for the rugnicks. The big winner will be the auctioneer, regardless of the 'deal' the rugnicks got for bringing the sale to him.

We would be amiss to claim there are not some good, a few very good, 19th century Caucasian rugs on offer BUT there are hardly any best of type masterpieces. Well, besides two lots which we will not discuss until our post sale comments. Or right now with anyone who wants to pay for our expertise, no more freebies from RK.

Perhaps, the most telling and interesting part of this dispersal sale's back story is the missing 'famous' star Kazak the rugnicks bought for a rumored 250,000 dollars. Why is it not being sold?

In our view: This is a good idea since the rug has been thoroughly tainted by the truth -- it is a totally over-restored confection the rugnicks stupidly purchased believing they were getting the real thing.

RK has written about it several times and readers unfamiliar with what we wrote can do so here. It is titled "A No Star Star Kazak"


The scuttle-butt rumor going around New England rug collecting circles is "...because it was rosalie's favorite rug and she is incapicated with Alzheimers Disease mitchell decided to keep it."

Regardless of such sticky sentiment fact is trying to sell it as the real thing for even half of what they paid would fail miserably, and worse cast a rotten odor over the auction because it ain't the real thing.

And admitting it is an overly restored, who knows what it originally looked like quasi-reproduction would call into question the supposed carpet collecting expertise the rugnicks laughably have been accorded.

One more comment: The rugnicks do not need the money and selling their collection, instead of donating it to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts(BFA), which surely would have accepted it, demeans all the time, effort and cashola these two gadflys of the New England rug collecting society expended.

Like Vok they probably are going to claim their selling at auction is to give others the chance to own their 'babies'. But this is just mealy-mouthed bullshit anyone with half a brain can see through. They want the money, period fin de la histoire.

Lord knows if any of today's collectors, besides George Hecksher, will step up to the plate of history and swing a big bat to donate their collection.

Please note: While everyone is busy bemoaning the lack of a new generation of rug collectors, it is sure easy to see why there is none thanks to no one doing anything to publicly champion this art area,,,,something wealthy people like Vok or the rugnicks could easily afford to do.

Were RK able we would ask mitchell rugnick if the at best couple of 100,000 dollars he will get (if he is lucky) is worth more than seeing his and his loudmouthed wife, rosalie's, name attached to a donation to the BFA? This would both honor their time spent and make a statement that would live on, prehaps stimulate interest, and just maybe spawn a new collector or two.

In closing we must say RK never thought much of the rosalie and mitchell rudnick and their final play in rugDUMB is sure a convincing vindication we were right on.

Author: jc
Sun, Nov 13th, 2016 01:56:34 AM

Last friday mitchell rudnick gave an informal talk about the collection at the auction gallery where it is being dispersed.

RK has now spoken with several attendees, who all voiced the same opinion: Mr rudnick had nothing interesting to say about anything in the collection and just recited some of the basic circumstances how they were acquired. And even these comments were, as we have been told, unenlightened, incorrect in at least one instance, and done for far less than half the 100 lots in the sale.

This is not surprising as rudnick, unlike his big-mouth wife, never professed to be anything other than a rug-know-little. Something his friday night talk well proved.

We have also heard rudnick has emailed a written version to a number of the collectors he is friendly with. RK has been promised a copy, and when and if we do receive it we will be glad to comment further.

But frankly, as we already know there will be so little to comment on we might just not bother.

Also, RK will no longer preview carpet sales, so for those readers who have written and asked please note our lack of time and especially desire to continue to dispense expertise for free are the reason.

We will contiue, as has been our practice of late, to make some post-sale commentaries. So stay tuned til then.

Author: hpmuller
email: [email protected]
Thu, Oct 27th, 2016 07:58:31 AM

Grogan just corrected the information on lot 14 as regards age, 1836. I received a respective email stating,"I appreciate your keen input and see now that the your observation makes sense. Too bad I didn't catch it before the catalogue printed."I appreciate as well.

Author: hpmuller
Thu, Oct 27th, 2016 03:44:15 AM

RK Replies:

Alas, HansPeter all you say is true.

The fact michael grogan paasses himself off, just like another carpet world asshat peter pap, as a rug expert is both ridiculous and laughable. Only in rugDUMB could grogan, or pap, possibly get away with this pretentious charade.

And what is worse is grogan's pompous attitude and immediate condescension to anyone who dares question the former head of the sotheby's rug department.

So naturally your questioning him and his knowledge, forget about his honesty, elicited the response you got.

Frankly, I am sure grogan does not care about such a small matter as the date on one of the rugs he will auction. He is far more interested in selling them for the highest price he can get to earn the commissions. There is nothing wrong with that picture BUT since he professes to love oriental rugs and it is the art area he is most noted for as an auctioneer and "expert" his piss-poor attitude is unbecoming and totally at odds with any claims grogan has made and will continue to make about his career.---------------------------------

Hi Jack,

Here's what happened in the meantime. Since I had informed Grogan and Company about the wrong date (1837 rather than 1789) on the Rudnick rug Lot 14 some time ago, I have received a confirmation of my note and a promise to "pass this along to our rug specialist." After not having had seen any change on the webpage I had contacted the company again.

"As Grogan has not corrected the date in the description of Lot 14 but mention where and when the rug was published, please note that NERS clearly states 1837 as correct date, not 1789; see here, catalog 16: http://www.ne-rugsociety.org/gallery/collectors-eye/ce-navframe.htm

I expect you to immediately correct the date, before the auction. 1789 is misleading and must even be regarded fraud."

Yesterday, Mr. Grogan himself responded with a surprising claim.

"[W]e are not fraudulently trying to deceive anyone and your harsh, accusatory tone is not necessary. A simple open minded dialogue is preferred by me. I honestly think the third number is a "0" (zero). Maybe I am wrong. Overall I was conservative with my dating for a this auction. There is always the chance [sic] that the NERS publication was wrong. I will consider your input."

Well, considering the third number as a zero is indeed ridiculous. It is even more so as the mentioned publication of the rug by Julia Bailey and Mark Hopkins: Through the Collector's Eye: Oriental Rugs from New England Private Collections, Rhode Island School of Design Museum of Art, Providence, Rhode Island, 1991, pl. 15, pp. 58-9, now out of print; mentions 1837 as well (see link above).

I suppose, claiming that a rug with a date is late 18th century when it is in fact mid 19th century and changing even the information provided in its 1991 publication is quite revealing.

Author: hpmuller
Sun, Oct 16th, 2016 02:44:44 AM

RK Replies:

Hey there Hans Peter:

From RK's personal experience and contact with mitchell and rosalie rudnick we can categorically say they are fools. The proof is the selling of their collection.

We have commented about people like them and Vok who spent the better part of their adult lives chasing rugs, 'fame' and notoriety in rugDUMB only to trash all that time, effort and money in the cash drawer of a jingling cash register. Cash they surely do not need.

This destroys any BS myth they, that rag hali or anyone else might try to spin about them.

BTW: Your comment and observation about that rug is well grounded.


Is it possible that the Rudnicks do not know Arabic numbers?

On Grogan's webpage for the upcoming auction, see http://auctions.groganco.com/auction-lot-detail/KAZAK-RUG,-Caucasus,-dated-AH-1203-(1789);-4-ft.-8-in.-x-3-f&salelot=157+++++++14+&refno=+++24693, this unimpressive Caucasian rug is dated 1253 AH.

A claim is made that this would correspond to 1789 CE (1203 AH).

But it is obvious that the date is 1253 which actually corresponds to 1837 CE. At least Grogan's employees should know better.

Do the Rudnicks believe that they can cheat potential buyers of this rather ugly piece by claiming it is late 18th century when it is factually mid-19th?

I was notified by Mete Mutlu's link, see https://www.rugrabbit.com/node/154595, who tries to sell a similar piece at rugrabbit.

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