Re: reasons for acquiring a piece

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Posted by Tom Cole on March 16, 1999 at 08:51:32:

In Reply to: Re: reasons for acquiring a piece posted by Michael Wendorf on March 15, 1999 at 21:28:14:

: : : : :
: : : : : : Steve, while I agree with all the reasons you have listed for choosing pieces to acquire, there are a couple of others that I can think of, namely:

: : : : : : 6. Novelty - a piece may be interesting because it is different or quirky, and can make a desirable (at least to me and some other collectors I know) acquisition even if it is not first-calss esthetically.

: : : : : : 7. Completeness - collecting, in its most basic form, is about acquiring a complete set of objects in the class that one is collecting, e.g., postage stamps, coins, etc. Applied to rug collecting this might manifest itself, say, in attempting to acquire one of each type of weaving (chuval, ensi,...) from each Turkoman tribe. While not actively pursuing such a course, all other things being equal I would rather acquire an object of a type that I do not have rather than another example of one that I do have.

: : : : : : Regards, Yon

: : : : : Dear Yon:
: : : : : I feel the same way about both points and I would even add that these two points have become more important as I have gained experience as a collector. I like to see groups of related pieces, but I like something even more if it fills a hole in my collection. Since Kurdish tribes have not been as distinguished as Turkoman tribes, this often reverts to a weaving of a structural type that was used predominately or uniquely by Kurdish weavers. Other times it means varient designs of the same type, e.g., Jaf bags.
: : : : : Regards, Michael

: : : : Dear All,

: : : : Why do we acquire what we do?

: : : : May I add a couple more possibilities?

: : : : 1) The "look at me" inclination. Isn't it possible that some people collect oriental rugs because of what they think such a collection says about THEM? As you may recall, back at the turn of the century Charles T. Yerkes put together a legendary collection of classical era carpets as part of his (reportedly) insatiable desire to use his possessions to establish his social standing. I wouldn't be surprised if there were others who were collecting rugs today for the exact same reason.

: : : : 2) In an era of mass-produced goods there are those who seek to surround themselves with handmade items of a bygone era. When you can go to any shopping mall anywhere in the world and find the same twenty franchised stores, it can be damn near irresistable to choose to own things that can't be found/replicated at a bunch of stores within walking distance of one another.

: : : : 3) As sort of a corollary to (2), another reason might be the pleasure derived by owning things that were made by hand. The quirkiness and individuality of things that reflect the mind and handiwork of distant (both in time and place) artisans offer endless interest. I never cease to be amazed at the hand-champfering on the bottom of the seats of our Windsor chairs and the dovetailed joints of an old document box, for instance. The same holds true for my rugs.

: : : : Cordially,

: : : : -Jerry-

: : : Jerry, if I may quibble, your reasons (particularly 2 & 3) are more for why one collects, not for why one collects specific pieces.

: : : Regards, Yon

: : Dear Yon,

: : I'll see your "quibble" and raise you one "nitpick."

: : Cordially,

: : -Jerry-

: Dear Jerry:
: I'll see your nitpick and decline the "look at me" inclination. While I do enjoy the occasion mutual self congratulation with other rug people I would say I continue to collect despite what my collecting says about me to my professional peers and neighbors. Most of whom think it either quaint or further evidence
: that I have completely lost my mind.
: Regards, Michael

The success of the auction phenomenon reconfirms the importance of peer approval. There are many prominent collectors, some of our more well known collectors, who confine more than 90% of their acquisitions to the auction marketplace (Sotheby, Rippon Boswell, Christies). Without peer approval, their confidence wanes and their appreciation of the art is exposed as tenuous at best.

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