OAKLAND, Calif.– For the fifth consecutive year, eminent art dealer Jan David Winitz, whose Claremont Rug Company gallery specializes in art-level Oriental carpets from the “Second Golden Age of Persian Weaving,” tomorrow opens an online exhibition of “best of the best” 19th century Persian and tribal rugs sold during 2015.
A total of 40 high-collectible 19th century rugs in a variety of Persian and Caucasian weaving styles will be displayed on the Gallery’s website Jan. 15 through March 22, 2016.
“Because most of these carpets were offered only to the clients who bought them,” said Winitz, author of The Guide to Purchasing an Oriental Rug, “this exhibition is the only time that anyone else will likely ever see them. Many of these pieces went directly in private collections and are unlikely to return to the market. Numerous clients comment that the annual Best of the Best exhibition is one of the year’s highlights for them, the equivalent of an invitation-only museum exhibition.”
Claremont’s clients reside on five continents and include more than 50 Forbes’ List billionaires. Winitz and his unique in-home shopping service were recently featured in the Wall Street Journal.
”We have developed our business to satisfy the needs of a very select and knowledgeable clientele. We are devoted to obtaining only a very seldom-encountered caliber of antique rugs. We continually seek those rare pieces that will satisfy the sensitivities of our connoisseur clients. The Best of the Best online exhibition also recognizes that many clients own multiple residences and live on more than one continent, limiting their opportunities to visit the Gallery in person.”
Winitz also noted that all of the rugs in the exhibit are either “museum-level” or “high-collectible,” the first and second tiers of Claremont’s proprietary six-tier Oriental Rug Market Pyramid©, which classifies rugs by their level of artistry, collectability and quality as fine art and antiques.
The “2015 Best of…” online event is highlighted by:
- Rugs from 14 weaving groups, all of which present extremely innovative pattern language and exotic natural dyes, many of whose recipes have now been lost.
- 26 pieces circa1800-1850, the elite period when the rarest 19thcentury Persian and tribal rugs were woven.
- 11 spectacular Bakshaish rugs and six exquisite Mohtasham Kashans, the styles recognized respectively as the most important Persian village and city weaving groups.
“Interestingly, this year the rugs that stood out were acquired by only six collectors. Winitz said, “Increasingly, there is strong competition among buyers when particularly rare, exceptional rugs come to market. Almost all of the rugs that appear in this year’s exhibition were purchased via individual contact, in our private sales or as soon as they were displayed.”
Founded by Winitz in 1980, Claremont Rug Company has an inventory comprised of more than 3500 art-level Oriental rugs acquired privately by the Gallery through its extensive team of global buyers. “I believe that our access to rugs from long-established private rug collections is unprecedented, because of the extensive global network we’ve built over 3-½ decades to uncovered rugs of great beauty and provenance,” he said.
Although all of the rugs in the exhibit would have appeared in rug literature had they not been held in private collections for several generations, Winitz mentioned some rugs of particular note:
- Persian Bakshaish, 11’2” x 18’, second quarter, 19th century This nearly two centuries old, world-class-caliber carpet, is absolutely spellbinding and demonstrates the consummate work of master weavers in its perfectly balanced composition, extremely impactful colors and seldom-seen depths of creativity.
- Persian Mohtasham Kashan, 4’6” x 6’4”, early 19th century An extremely sophisticated, highly creative composition with the inimitable patina of artfully combined soft colors powerfully distinguishes this superlative representative of the elite Mohtasham Kashan group. At two centuries of age, it excels in its unfathomably fine knotting and closely shorn pile and boasts one of the most singular, ambitious compositions we have ever come across.
- Persian Serapi, 10’5” x 12’4”, circa 1850 Radiating a jewel-like quality through its extraordinary skillfully abrashed(intentionally color-striated) pastel tones, this deeply memorable, early room size carpet embodies the grandeur of the renowned Serapi style. Its expansive design and continual asymmetries are indicative of the superb quality work only seen in the most accomplished pieces.
“One trend that has been establishing itself over the past several years,” he said, “is the pairing Second Golden Age antique rugs with contemporary art and furnishings, particularly by younger collectors. Increasingly, they are displaying precious rugs as wall art.”
“Because many contemporary homes are characterized by large open spaces, rugs are utilized to create more intimate conversation areas or striking visual separations. Antique Oriental rugs are considered ‘signifiers’ of refined taste and, interestingly, often appear anonymously in publications devoted to extraordinary architecture and interior design. In our world, we say that these rugs ‘hide in plain sight’ because they are appreciated by art connoisseurs and often overlooked by editors,” Winitz said.