Thoughts, Ideas, and Comments

Rugs for the Floor

 

Our focus is on antique woven objects suitable for display on walls and tables as art.

We occasionally offer small rugs that could be suitable for careful use on the floor.

We have been around the "oriental rug" market for many years. For reasonable and fair-minded clients in the New York area who believe in investing in expertise when considering a substantial expenditure, we are available for custom consulting and/or search.

 

Fragments

 

There has been, over the years, much discussion and disagreement about the validity and value of collecting fragments, though I think by now the anti-fragment forces have essentially given up the ghost, either literally or figuratively.

That said, not all fragments are created equal. Some very rare and important old fragments are not necessarily objects that one would want to devote wall space to and have to confront every day.

Likewise, some incomplete pieces which are not necessarily of huge (or any) importance in the history of textiles, but which retain enough of their composition and color to be coherent can still convey great grandeur or power or joy or whimsy, often at a tiny fraction of the cost of a larger or complete piece.

On "Collecting"

 

Collecting is a complex and intriguing topic. For the moment, we will not address the various motivations and justifications for collecting, but rather on the question of whether I have to be a "collector" to purchase an antique textile.

All collectors and collections have to start somewhere. With many, it starts with furnishing and decorating a home. This could be rugs for the floor or a piece of art for the wall. And it need not proceed beyond that. When one purchases a painting, or a poster, or a print, or a map to hang on the wall, one does not usually wrestle with the issue of whether one is building a collection, but presumably primarily with aesthetic and value considerations. Do I think this object is attractive? Will it make me happy to live with it? Does it have any value should I change my mind, or move, or my children have to deal with it?

Though many other, more esoteric, considerations may figure in to the building of a collection over time, it seems to me that the above questions are appropriate whether making a one time purchase of a piece for your wall or any subsequent purchases.

The universe of antique textiles is enormous, encompassing pieces from many countries, cultures, and centuries. The appreciation and understanding of these objects is, as with all art forms, a journey that can become richer and more profound over time.

There is much more to say about various approaches to "collecting"; it is a condition that affects some of us, and to which others seem immune, and it is a condition with many variations of symptoms.

 

My point here is merely that the purchase of a beautiful antique textile does not require a "collector's license" or a graduate degree in art history. Though the advice, expertise, and insight of a knowledgeable, reputable professional expert is strongly recommended, the only thing that is required is an open mind to the beauty and value of the objects.

 

Photography

 

The issues of photography for rugs and textiles are considerable; the angle of light reflection, the differing reflectivity of wool, cotton, and silk, the nature of daylight where the picture is taken - all affect the result.  And what you see may be further affected by your display settings and browser. So we do the best we can to represent the pieces fairly, but are glad to discuss any issues, questions, or concerns you have.

That all said, and while recognizing the convenience of digital access and communications and the myriad ways it has transformed our existence, we don't really approve of the idea of purchasing art from pictures. Certainly one of the joys of textile art is tactile; in rugs, for example, the quality of the materials can be a major factor in distinguishing a better piece from a lesser one. Likewise, the feel of the materials can be a significant factor in understanding and appreciating a piece. So while good photography can save us all a great deal of potentially wasted time, it is the beginning, not the end, of the process of evaluating a piece.

I know it is a recurring theme in these notes, but I must comment again on the value of a relationship with a good trustworthy knowledgeable dealer. If you work with someone who listens to you and tries to understand your approach, you increase the chances of finding objects that suit your interest. Likewise, if you listen to and attempt to understand the professional you work with, you may come to understand more about a piece under discussion by understanding the ways a certain dealer describes things in this imperfect language of ours.

 

 

 

 

 

Restoration

 

Restoration is yet another thorny issue in the world of antique rugs and textiles. In general, we prefer to let the purchaser decide what if any restoration to pursue. We generally take whatever measures are necessary to render a piece stable and secure, and sometimes will have pieces mounted - sewn on to a backing cloth - for security and presentation. Occasionally, we will have some minimal repair done to edges.  Generally speaking, we are in favor of having wool and cotton rugs and rug fragments washed, and presenting them clean.

Many institutions and collectors have their own approaches and standards for restoration and presentation, so we generally prefer to handle pieces as we find them, subject ot the statements above. We will advise as to the condition of any piece we handle including restoration and repair to the extent we are aware of it and/or have performed it. The decision as to further repair or restoration should be that of the purchaser; we are glad to offer our recommendations and assistance with any work our clients desire.