Background to the Collection
THE GREAT GRANDFATHER
Buoyed by his early returns on railroad stock and about to set up a home with his new wife, an ambitious young banker from Chicago bought an Oriental carpet at the Philadelphia World’s Fair of 1876. Relying on the public library and certain well-established Armenian rug merchants, he schooled himself in this art form and built an impressive collection.
In Paris, while visiting a cousin in the diplomatic corps, the only son of this patriarch visited the World’s Fair in Paris of 1900 and met several major American New York rug dealers, who over decades assisted him in creating a collection of his own. His financial focus on several early car companies allowed him to move his family to a large home in Winnetka, IL, announcing one day, to the delight of his wife, that they would furnish every room with Oriental rugs. Later on, a second house in Bloomfield Hills, MI, nearer the scene of motor car production, provided more rug display space. The homes glowed with the splendor of formal carpets, while Serapis and Bakshaish room sizes and top-tier village and tribal rugs and runners elevated the halls and smaller areas.
Vivid memories of walking along Lake Michigan with his dad, hearing about rides in the earliest American automobiles and helping him uncrate the latest group of rugs from New York, set the stage for his love of Packards and Oriental carpets. Amply educated in transportation sector investments and the ability to identify a standout antique Oriental carpet, this third-generation rug collector enlarged his family’s collection after his father passed away. He kept the Winnetka home and carpet treasury, moved the Bloomfield rug collection to his larger house there, and opened another residence outside NYC where he and his wife built their own collection. She was a painter who, he told his sons, wanted to “paint pictures with the celestial beauty I see in the rugs.” They would often all play guessing games together inspired by the patterns in the rugs. He outlived his wife by over 20 years and confided to his sons that he found solace in spending time with the carpets he and his wife bought together.
THE BROTHERS TODAY
These two sons, born in the early 1930s, inherited three homes and over 170 collectible antique carpets that they knew well. As they were centered in different cities, New York and Baltimore, they kept the ancestral Illinois home and its rug collection for summertime visits and the Holidays and added the New York rugs to it. “Sometimes we layered them and filled many closets there,” the elder son told us. They divided the carpets from Bloomfield to keep them in view and still allow themselves room in their own homes to continue collecting. Now a nonagenarian, the older son, on behalf of his brother and himself, sold us the bulk of their family’s collection.
The younger son’s wife spent much time with her mother-in-law learning about antique rugs and became the driving force behind the collecting with her husband. They found us after they moved to Northern California a decade ago, and they became loyal clients.
THE GREAT LAKES COLLECTION represents an unprecedented opportunity to view and purchase exemplary rugs simply no longer available in today’s market. This event is by invitation only.*
The Collection gallery features 55 rugs. As the rugs sell, they will be replaced by other Collection carpets. This staggered presentation makes the tremendous logistical feat of preparing them for sale possible.
THE GREAT LAKES COLLECTION is an invitational opportunity to view and acquire exemplary 19th-century Oriental rugs of a caliber that can otherwise no longer be found on today’s market. We will not accept trade-ins because the pieces are so rare and of such good value that this would be inequitable. You may trade with other rugs within the Collection, however.