by Sarah Haberkern
On 27 March 2012 – also happened to be one of the year’s first sunny days in Stuttgart – the first of two special annual auctions for collector’s rugs and ethnographic art was held at Nagel Auctions.
One of the highlights of the auction was that the Dr. Loges collection came under the hammer. Dr. Loges, who became well known for his book “Turkmen Rugs” (Bruckmann Verlag, 1976), has been collecting Turkmen rugs for decades. On the night before the auction, he held a talk about the 25 pieces from his collection – 80% of which would be sold the next day.
After a rather quiet advance viewing, many international rug dealers and several collectors appeared at the auction house on the day of the auction to bid.
The auction featured a total of 281 lots of rugs and 176 lots of Islamic and ethnographic art. The auction began with 17 Anatolian rugs, including a Lotto rug that sold for a hammer price of 28,000 euros, as well as the highlight of the auction – a double niche rug – that sold for a hammer price of 70,000 euros. Despite these two absolutely exceptional rugs, Anatolian rugs as a whole posted modest results, with only 29% sold.
The Dr. Loges collection, on the other hand, sold rather well, with 20 of the 25 pieces on offer finding buyers, including a knotted panel with two kejebe gols, which can probably be attributed to the Saryk tribe and sold for a hammer price of 40,000 euros. The Dr. Loges collection also included a piece that personally surprised me: Lot 22, a Tekke Choval Front with an appraised price of 600 euros, sold for a hammer price of 7,500 euros, apparently appealing to a buyer abroad bidding by phone. Lot 29, a Yomut eagle gol main rug, fetched the expected hammer price of 10,000 euros, while Lot 42, a Salor main rug from Dr. Loges’s Turkmen publication, sold for a hammer price of 33,000 euros, despite having been shortened.
The Dr. Loges collection was followed by 30 Persian court rugs, 48% of which sold. The 35 subsequent Caucasian rugs posted similarly stable sales, with 49% finding buyers. Among the Persian court rugs, Lot 69 was especially striking – a beautiful Kashan Mohtasham that sold for a hammer price of 4,500 euros. Among the Caucasian rugs, Lot 78, a Kazak Karachoph, fetched a hammer price of 6,500 euros – the highest price achieved for a rug from this region. With 51% sold, the 33 pieces of Persian nomad knotted work also posted satisfactory results. On the other hand, sales were down for mid-range Turkmen rugs with only 30% sold, most likely because prospective buyers were interested in pieces from the Dr. Loges collection. Even Lot 142, a beautiful Beshir main rug with herati palmettes and the leader in this category, still sold relatively cheaply for a hammer price of 6,500 euros. Lot 166, a Yomut Asmalyk with a lovely depiction of a wedding procession, only fetched a hammer price of 2,600 euros, probably because of its young age (around 1900).
49% of the 19 Suzanis and mainly Uzbek textiles that followed were sold. Sales were also stable for Chinese rugs and the 78 rugs listed as miscellaneous, with approx. 50% sold. Books hardly played a role at all in this Nagel auction, with only 5 lots selling for rather low prices.
To make up for the lack of books, this Nagel auction also featured contemporary Islamic art for the first time. In my opinion, this nicely expanded the range of offerings, but there is still the need to promote this area, as none of the 14 lots were sold.
The other 149 lots of ethnological art included antique Christian, Islamic, Caucasian, Russian, African and Oceanic art. At the same time, the auction was strangely concluded with 5 Chinese lots, which to my knowledge were not featured in the advance viewing. 39% of the lots of ethnographic art sold, whereby a few special pieces should be specifically mentioned.
Lot 409, a rare Hellenistic medallion from the 2nd century B.C., sold for a hammer price of 5,000 euros, as did Lot 426, a Mashraba jug with a band in naskh script from 12th/13th century Khorasan. The most outstanding piece of Islamic art was unquestionably Lot 485, a Kursi Quran stand from Egypt or Syria, which fetched a hammer price of 10,000 euros and can be considered comparable to a similar Kursi in the Museum of Islamic Art in Cairo.
Islamic furniture seem to be enjoying greater popularity, as Lot 495, an Ottoman-style cabinet, changed owners for a hammer price of 6,500 euros. The most expensive textile in this part of the auction was Lot 499, a Lampas sepulchral cloth with a calligraphy pattern, which sold for a hammer price of 3,600 euros.
Three of the five Chinese lots that no one saw sold for a hammer price of 32,000 euros according to Nagel’s results of the sale. In total, some 201 of the 464 lots sold for a hammer price of approx. 575,000 euros + 33% commission for Nagel Auctions, which is a rather modest result.
Sarah Haberkern, Art & Antik