Most Expensive Painting Ever Sold At Auction Vs. the Most Expensive Rug
For twelve agonizing minutes the audience watched and even cheered as they watched five bidders compete for the pleasure of owning The Scream by Edvard Munch. The buzz could be felt as the bids kept inching their way higher and high, till the bidding paused for a bit at $99 million dollars which prompted Tobias Meyer, the auctioneer, to say, “I have all the time in the world.”
And the applause could be heard when the $100 million bid was cast, shattering the previous record for most expensive painting ever sold, set two years ago by Christie’s New York when Picasso’s Nude, Green Leaves and Bust brought $106.5 million.
This got me thinking about the value of art as it relates to antique rugs. On 15 April 2010 at Sothebys London, King Street location the record for the most expensive rug ever sold was set at a “measly” $9,599,535. While almost $10,000,000 is not chump change by any means, it by no means the norm.
Antique Oriental rugs in general, might fetch a million plus every now and then but art is seen consistently selling for ten times that. Percentage wise, rare antique rugs have seen the median price points escalate tremendously over the past couple of years but they are still tremendously undervalued. Young collectors who are priced out of the art market are shifting their focus to rugs and textiles clamoring for the best examples while the prices are still considerably low.
As the years go by, we expect the prices for antique oriental rugs to continue their upward momentum. The number of rare pieces available on the market has dwindled tremendously over the past two years thanks mostly to the recent opening of a number of museums combined with the spike in interest by collectors.
Antique carpet sells for nearly $10,000,000
Most Expensive Persian Rug – At a recent sale of Christie’s in London, the early Persian Kerman vase carpet from the seventeenth century pictured here shattered all previous records for rug sales in auction, going for nearly $10,000,000, twice the existing record.
High quality antique rugs and rare pieces are repeatedly commanding prices beyond market expectations. This is the time to buy, at the point where the trend has become discernible, but before it has effected a radical escalation in price structure.
Some of the earliest vase designs are extremely intricate, with a plethora of blossoms, leaves and trees in brilliant colors. One example is the spectacular fragment exhibited in Milan in 1981. Two fragments of a carpet with a slightly later version of a similar design, are now in the Victoria and Albert Museum.
From these extremely complex designs various elements appear to have been used in later carpets to create different effects. The designs on these two carpets were simplified in a spectacular antique carpet now in the Gulbenkian collection.
It has spectacular swirling scrolling saz leaves enclosing palmettes on a near black ground. An interesting feature of these three carpets is that they all split the curving serrated leaves into two or three colors, running longitudinally. The de Behague carpet from the renowned collection of Martine Marie Pol, Comtesse de Behague uses exactly this tripartite division of leaves, but the designers have worked out an arrangement that makes the blossoms completely secondary to the leaves.
It is also a carpet which can claim to be the earliest design which can clearly be demonstrated to be a prototype for the most popular Persian rug design of all – the so-called herati pattern. The Behague collection included antiquities, Islamic Art and a number of European and Oriental rugs.
Much of the collection was dispersed after her death in 1927, but this outstanding carpet was not included and sold at some later stage between the 1930’s and the 1950’s. This carpet provided evidence for the theory that the weavers of Kerman rugs in the seventeenth century were the most inventive and influential of all carpet designers in the history of Persian carpet.