Jan David Winitz, founder and president of Claremont Rug Company
, today acknowledged an unprecedented interest in the best art-level antique Oriental rugs during our 30 years of business.
Reporting that 25% of the buyers of investment-level rugs featured in the Gallerys current exhibition and sale are first-time buyers, Winitz said: It is simply astonishing to see so many new clients starting with such high-level rugs.
The Gallery event, entitled Artistic Visions of the Refined to the Elemental, features more than 150 antique rugs acquired from a single, private source.
The provenance of the rugs is remarkable, he said, noting that they had been collected over nearly a century by four generations of a New York-based family. The rugs in the Artistic Visions Collection were last located in the familys significant Manhattan apartment, their major Long Island (NY) estate and their Cape Cod compound. Rugs from the collection are valued in the $18,000 to $400,000 per piece range.
The Collection, consisting almost exclusively of 19th-century carpets, is also available for viewing online
Winitz, who founded Claremont Rug Company in 1980, said that the reaction to the collection is consistent with the fact that recently a small rug (a 3x5 Safavid from the 16th-17th century) recently sold for $4.34MM (US) did not go unnoticed by the art collecting community.
When I commented that this price is indicative of the escalating interest of in one-in-the-world antique rugs, the global response was immediate. Within 48 hours, I received inquiries from experienced international art connoisseurs and collectors, he said.
Winitz said that the price of the Safavid rug and the increasing interest in art-level 19th-century carpets at his Gallery are part of a trend that he has noted over the past three years.
Winitz said, Nearly a third of our sales from this collection are to clients who previously purchased fine rugs to furnish their homes. What we are finding is that they are now strategically upgrading to significantly more rare pieces to add to their art collections, which may also include paintings, sculpture and furniture.
Another trend, he noted, is that collectors are increasingly buying connoisseur-quality rugs to hang as art on the wall, for rotating in their homes or to store in dedicated rug closets.
Winitz also reported an increase in multiple rug purchases as part of what he called whole home projects, in which clients select between 15 and 40 rugs for an entire home. Having completed eight projects of this type in 2008, he has been involved with more than two dozen projects in 2009, including nine that are the direct result of the current exhibition. Half are with first-time buyers, which Winitz calls an incredibly significant development.
Winitz said, The extremely vibrant demand for the best rugs parallels the notable turn to rare tangible assets, such as Old Masters paintings, coins and jewelry. The demand from both new collectors and seasoned aficionados has moved from a trend to a mainstay of our market.
Claremont was selected by The Robb Report for their 2009 Best of the Best as one of the top three art and antique galleries in the United States and the only Oriental rug purveyor in the listing. The Artistic Visions exhibition was featured in the New York Times.