Saturday, August 11, 2012


Appraisers often have to consult colleagues who are specialists in their respective field. I routinely consult Terry Kondralian, a 3rd generation carpet dealer, restorer and appraiser when I encounter Oriental carpets. In the instance of this carpet I had to appraise recently in a Coral Gables estate, I initially believed this to be a 20th Century French Savonnerie carpet based on 18th Century prototypes. But a general crudeness gave me an uneasy feeling. Altogether though, the carpet is not without its decorative appeal. And in the current market in which "traditional" Oriental and Eurpean carpets are not fashionable, there are some good opportunities for collectors not so keen on being in tune with the latest trends.

This carpet is very large. It measures 11'9" x 20'3". It was dirty and probably would have its colours resonate more after a professional cleaning or restoration.

However the characteristics of Savonnerie production were evident in the Rococo inspired floral design and the thick pile. What Mr. Kondralian pointed out to me was that Savonnerie was not above subcontracting work from factories in Asia after WWI of less costly imitation carpets of less refinement than the better French carpets. These were made to be offered to a wider consumer market of middle class buyers. Indeed, copies of Savonnerie and Aubusson carpets are still made in Asia - particularly in China. However these "vintage" carpets are finely made with more attention to detail then those being turned out in most current mass production. A detail of a corner shows the charm and quality of the design and execution.

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