I hope you enjoyed the vacation blog. I figured it would be a nice change of the usual stuff and if you are outdoorsy, might help you plan a trip. I always hope that you find my posts informative and useful and try to share my experiences sourcing, cleaning and evaluating. If I can help just one person I feel like it was a worthy post! I understand that most of us get slammed with junk mail all day (the Gap sends me no less than two emails per day) and I always wonder if my one a week or so emails annoy people. If anyone has any complaints, critiques, please comment!
Anyway, Just before I left for vacation I won some things at auction. I am only now going through them, cleaning and evaluating and listing things. There is a great set of teak nesting tables by Bent Silberg Mobler which I will be tending to shortly. I also picked up 3 fabulous rugs.
I have been researching my finds. Rugs is one thing I have interest in but is new territory for me so each purchase is really a means to learning more. I know enough about textiles growing up with a mother who sews, quilts and does alterations. This knowledge is super helpful when seeking vintage textiles. It really honed my ability to quickly identify quality workmanship and materials. I have a special love of wools and natural fibers so rugs just seem like another place I wanted to be. I have been doing some auctions online without seeing the goods in person. It can be risky. Always assume the dealer is not an expert and has not disclosed everything! If you keep that in mind and have the know how, resources and determination, you can usually repair most of them. The little mat above has many issues but in the cases of antique rugs, they are best kept with their flaws and wear intact, it is personal preference to the user, but patina on a rug is not a bad thing at all. Finding a 60+ year old piece with no issues will not happen often. I delve into researching. This rug is definitely a hand knotted rug. I find some sources online telling me how to spot machine made rugs like Karastan over hand woven and study up. Then I think the size may lend to being a prayer mat. I research religions and although I thought some Jewish sects used prayer mats, my research showed Muslims are the only religion which would consistently use one. The wear on this one, to me, could be from kneeling. Having dealt with an estate in the past that I knew the man had lived in Israel for some years and was a rug collector.....I mean he had rugs on top of rugs and although I only took one textile home, i did take an acid etched piece home that was from an Iranian artist, Bijan. So right away, I am thinking Iran. They are known for rugs. My searching showed me that most Muslim prayer mats have a definite top and bottom in the design. Many are similar to the shape of a Mosque, like a key hole. This rug depicted flowers and not other typical patterns that were on prayer mats. Not that is was not one, but I found no florals without a center medallion like most of the oriental rugs depict. Iranian rugs were the closest to what I had but to date it, or even confirm that is just pretty hard for a novice. Rugs from the region in which Iran is located typically are referred to as Persian so I knew that is what I had but I also knew there was more to the story. Turns out that I have a colleague who is a rug specialist and without me asking, he told me I had a Sarouk rug (which is a region in IRAN!) and he dated it to the 1930's. It is a real treasure! The quality of rugs in this sale was good. I could tell by viewing the lots that these were fabulous antiques. It is always nice to get validation that my hunch was correct! This beauty is listed and ready to ship. I would definitely keep her in a low traffic area to prevent further age related issues. I will discuss care in a bit.
Next win was a slightly larger Turkish flat weave kilim rug. These rugs have no pile like a knotted rug. They are more similar to the style of weaving you learn as a kid in art class, but a lot more intricate. This rug is also wool. Unlike the thicker knotted rugs, these are very pliable. I have a few throw pillows that were made from cut up rugs and they are so fabulous, the never got listed. This look is very boho, tribal and honestly looks great in all decor. It is classic and sophisticated. Investing in an old rug is very much like investing in quality original art. They can hang on walls, used as room accents interspersed with furnishings and repurposed into pillows, not that I ever recommend cutting up a rug. Sometimes the damage involved may warrant it. This rug does have some holes but it generally is in pretty good shape. I cannot determine age but I would guess that it came from the same home as the others which could be 30s-50s era. Shabby rugs are trending right now too!
The final rug I bought that day makes me feel like I won the vintage lottery! There was a picasso rug that got higher than I could spend so I concentrated on one signed Leger. It reminded me of 80s pop art. I won it. Fernand Leger was a French cubist who pretty much inspired the 80s pop art movement and so many other artists we know and love. His style was so cutting edge, it was in the 1930's when he was doing this stuff! He died in 1955, by the way so his stuff is pre mid century. Some great reading on Leger can be found here, a preview to an exhibit that was showing his work at the Philly Art Museum. He was involved in early television and his art pieces sometimes were referred to as cartoons. It's fascinating. https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/museums/leger-modern-art-and-the-metropolis-at-the-philadelphia-museum-of-art/2013/11/14/0faa43f4-4c87-11e3-ac54-aa84301ced81_story.html?utm_term=.6888ca2d8627 As awesome as he is, I found out more on my rug that is equally as awesome! Meet Marie Cutillo, an Algerian who spent her life reviving a waning Algerian art of rug making! She purchased original art from the great cubists and had her newly trained rug makers replicate their designs in textile form. She collected the original art and eventually donated her entire collection including many Picasso's to the largest art museum in France. Her fashion house, Maison Myrbor, was who sold the rugs in Paris and the clothes and rugs: haute couture. Art collectors world wide were purchasing them for their collections. I could go on but I am still learning things. The research continues!
My rug does have some issues. I am doing some cleaning today. Delicate stain work using a watered down dis solution. I suspect there was moth activity although I found nothing to lead me to believe there is an active infestation. Moth larvae does horrible things to rugs. I plan on taking this to a rug cleaner and restorer in Philadelphia in the coming weeks. I have found comps ranging from $7500-35000 for this design. So definitely with investing into. I also am considering adding casings to wall hang. I am worried that the damage has weakened the structure that it would not be feasible to use in a floor situation. The other concern is always preservation. I am hoping to get some quotes in a few weeks for cleaning, restoration work and possible casings, but I think I can do that myself. There is a book on Marie Cutillo, however it is in French. I may pick it up though. My boss is fluent. ✌️Here's a pic of this lovely piece. I will share more as I work through getting it ready to sell. This piece is definitely a collector piece and I am so lucky I could obtain it! It is a pleasure to be able to help it connect to a new home where it will be preserved!
Shadow from deck rails and a plant but you get the idea. I am getting ready to steam it. Steam will kill any moth activity and eggs. Leaving in a hot car for a few days will help as well. this is just one more reason to trust your dealer. Insects can be a problem with vintage goods. Bedbugs, moths, etc. I am very careful to inspect and clean everything that I sell. I spray all wool and non washable fibers with Cedarcide, a natural insecticide. I will invest in a pro cleaning on this piece after it is professionally evaluated.
Hope you enjoyed leaning about rugs!