Newly Developing Trends In Our Market for Art-level Antique Oriental Rugs
By Jan David Winitz, Founder and President
A s 2014 begins, I would like to share my viewpoint on how the perception, acquisition and display of art-level antique Oriental rugs is evolving. How the move to contemporary design and furnishings is incorporating fine rugs in a novel and inventive manner. And how more and more art connoisseurs are including, and even emphasizing, antique rugs in their collections.
2013 was a banner year in the market for art-level Oriental rugs. A 17th century Persian Kirman Sickle-Leaf carpet from the William A. Clark collection sold for $33.7 million at Sotheby’s, over 3-1/2 times the previous world record. Each of Clark’s 25 historical rugs sold for well over its high estimate.
Our sales of top-caliber 19th century rugs also expanded tremendously in the year that just ended. Our own important trove, The Chappaqua Family Collection has been a substantial success, as the great majority of its over 100 pieces sold in 2-1/2 months. This event will end on January 18.
We will expand our “Best-of-the-Best Rugs Sold in 2013” event to 40 rugs from 30 rugs in 2012 in order to acknowledge more of our clients who purchased high collectible rugs. The event starts on our website on January 17.
I feel I should underline that my comments apply only to the antique Oriental rugs that possess particular attributes that make them “art-level.” Although a significant number of decorative antique rugs are still available, only a small portion have great originality in their designs and color palettes. Only some profoundly express the principles of balance and harmony that traditional art since the ancient Greeks has striven to exemplify. This is the caliber of rug that has captured the attention of the collectors and lovers of beauty from five continents who work with us.
Recognition of noteworthy antique rugs as art objects was seen this past year in the significant increase of clients purchasing them for non-floor display. Many more clients decided to hang rugs as wall art. The practice of strategically displaying them under glass on table tops and over banisters and furniture is also on the rise. Along with their great aesthetic impact, clients’ motivation for non-floor display was to preserve special pieces as family treasures and depositories of wealth.
In 2013, our most active client group by far was members of the financial services industry. A number purchased stunning rugs to adorn every room in their homes. They also acquired them as precious tangible assets to hold in storage. Several more art collectors from the Forbes World’s Billionaires list became active clients.
This year, five elite publications increased the exposure to antique art rugs through articles featuring us.I was privileged that both Chubb and AXA insurance groups included pieces I wrote as the lead articles in their publications for clients with fine art policies.
Our perspective on antique carpets as art was presented in “Private Air Luxury Homes”, a large format magazine for charter airline and helicopter passengers. The magazine for owners of Gulfstream private jets also wrote a feature article largely from an interview with me about the uptick in interest in art level rugs.
I was particularly excited that an 8-page article in “Robb Report Collection,” subtitled “Antique Oriental rugs have emerged as high-end collectibles,” included extensive interviews with myself and three of my clients. It was illustrated with nine pictures of rare rugs from our collection and rooms in our clients’ homes.
Purchasing for significant decorative projects also grew in 2013 and revealed new ways of using antique rugs in contemporary decors. We completed an extended series of large home construction projects with grand antique carpets to balance the effect of modern vaulted ceilings. Clients and their designers most often chose to use 12×16 to 15×27 Laver Kirman, Kermanshah and Sultanabad carpets for the public areas, recognizing that their quieter designs and softer color palettes complemented and enhanced their modern art and sculpture.
Clients also were enamored by the way geometric Serapi and Bakshaish rugs reflected the contemporary architecture of their new homes and how seamlessly art-level 19th century pieces in these two related styles merged with the clean lines and minimalist furnishings of 21st century homes.
The tribal rugs of the Caucasus Mountains have never been more popular among our clients than in 2013. From lowland Shirvans and Kubas to high mountain Kazaks and Daghestans, Caucasian rugs satisfied our clients’ desire for great originality, heart-capturing color palettes and potent artistry. They selected art-level Caucasians for their great compatibility with contemporary interior design, for their enigmatic display on the wall and as additions to their art collections. An increasing number stored their surplus pieces and rotated them with those on display.
To end, I would like to express how gratifying it was this past year to hear from so many clients of the great satisfaction they receive from living with antique rugs. As one who has experienced it first-hand, I’m confident you will agree that the deep visual appeal and intrinsic value of this art form will continue to be felt for generations to come. After 33 years, sharing rugs that possess the most enrapturing artistry with our clients is the driving force that motivates me every day.
January 3, 2014
View our gallery of near 1000 antique and vintage oriental rugs.
View the collectible antique Persian carpets and Caucasian rugs in The Chappaqua Collection.