A Monumental Antique Carpet Acquisition To Open Soon at Claremont Rug Company: Exploring 19th Century Oriental Rugs as Fine Art

Oakland, California (EastBayDaily) — Each art level antique Oriental rug resonates in its own particular way, striking a universal chord in all sensitive viewers. When the one informs the other, a superb antique rug provides an engaging “destination” that continues to reveal itself, one that never tires or bores. As with any art form, visual engagement is key.

Generally speaking, art is defined by traditionally rare materials like oil paint, marble, bronze, gold, silver, a “higher” (non-utilitarian) purpose, and the cachet of an “important” name – a Picasso, a Michelangelo, a Hockney. “Who is it by?” is often the first thing people ask. Craft is considered a repository for things made of natural materials like clay, wood or fiber and often designed for use. Their makers’ names may or may not be affixed to them, and in the case of tribal pieces and antique Persian rugs, whether by Africans, Native Americans, Aborigines or inhabitants of the Caucasus, there’s an assumption that their makers lack the benefit of “formal” training.

Only a few decades ago, prestigious art schools refused to recognize photography as a worthy course of study. More recently, glass virtuoso Dale Chiluly was deemed by some high-culture arbiters as a “craftsman.” Handmade 19th century Oriental rugs – their makers unknown, their “purpose” utilitarian, their “rightful place” beneath people’s feet – were also deemed craft pieces.

Today, art collectors and curators are beginning to recognize that the division is far less codified, that a masterwork doesn’t necessarily require a signature, costly components or a “superior” purpose. This perceptual change was dramatically illustrated by the October 2009 sale of an early 17th century Safavid antique Persian rug for $4.3 million – some twenty-two times its original Sotheby’s estimate – and by the 2010 sale of a 17th century Kirman antique carpet at Christie’s for $9.5 million, which doubled the previous world record for an antique Oriental rug. A genuine work of art speaks to a viewer’s emotions and enriches a viewer’s world. It offers the potential to deeply inspire and to open a previously unfamiliar door to the potential shared by all of humanity. It speaks of man’s desire to know himself and his place in the Universal scheme. A superb quality antique Oriental rug does all this. For more information about the “The Bostonian Collection” and Claremont’s world-renowned inventory of art-level antique Oriental rugs, call 1-800-441-1332 or email info(at)claremontrug(dot)com.


Jan Winitz