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Leading global gallery opens on-line exhibit of 30 'Best of the Best' pieces sold in 2011
Ferahan Sarouk, 7 x 10.1, Rare museum level antique Ferahan Sarouk carpet from from the second quarter of the 19th century.

OAKLAND, CA.- Claremont Rug Company, the world’s leading dealer of 19th century, art-level Oriental carpets, today announced an on-line exhibition which will feature 30 of the most rare, one-in-the-world antique rugs that it has placed with clients during the past year.

President/Founder Jan David Winitz, who opened his Gallery in 1980, said, “In 2011, we were very fortunate to procure and to place a substantial number of extremely rare, high collectible to museum-level Oriental carpets. This exhibition spotlights 30 of the most noteworthy carpets our clients bought last year.” The on-line exhibit will “open” on Wednesday, January 18, and run until March 31. The rugs may be accessed in a slideshow format with commentary about each piece at

“The vast majority of these astonishing antique rugs never appeared on our website or in the Gallery,” Winitz said. “They were offered privately to clients, some of whom had been on ‘waiting lists’ for particular pieces, when they became available.”

These Persian and Caucasian rugs were all woven during the early part of the “Second Golden Age of Carpet Weaving,” generally considered from ca. 1800 to ca. 1900. All were acquired by Claremont in private transactions, some coming from extensive family collections whose provenance stretched to as many as four generations. The rugs in this exhibition date from the late 18th century to circa 1875.

“It is fair to say that each of these antique rugs is at the pinnacle of its sub-group,” Winitz said. “And many of them have never been seen outside the private collections in which they resided.”

With the recent opening of the permanent exhibition of Islamic Art at the Metropolitan Museum in New York, Oriental rug aficionados have the opportunity to view a substantial collection of historical rugs from the ‘First Golden Age of Carpet Weaving.’ “But those rugs from the 14th through 17th centuries will never be available for private collecting. Because the craft, skills and raw materials used in those carpets are still found in the finest pieces from the Second Golden Age, premier Oriental carpets from this period have begun to take their rightful place in the art and collecting world.” he said, “and continue to increase in value as their availability diminishes.”

Acknowledging that the Metropolitan exhibit has led to increased interest, Winitz said that clients who first started buying this year purchased five of his best-of-the-best 30 rugs. Some of the rugs were also acquired by international clients, one of whom has been collecting for four decades.

According to Winitz, highlights include a world-class Court-inspired Persian Hadji Jallili Tabriz, (ca. 1875), which is an inspiring technical feat in palace-size dimensions (14-10 x 22) and a folkloric Persian Bakshaish Camelhair (ca. 1850), which portrays a field of endless wildflowers in its simplest terms.

“There are also pieces for which I have seen no counterpart in person or in the Oriental rug literature, including a ca. 1800 Persian Senneh with unfathomably pure colors and a circa 1850 Caucasian Shirvan of unmatched fineness. The earliest piece we placed, a late 18th century Khorassan, has one similar published piece, in Ulrich Schurmann’s groundbreaking “Oriental Carpets” (1965). Each of these rugs eloquently communicates the singularity of expression of their weavers, supported by an astonishing knowledge of their craft,” Winitz said.

Winitz, author of “The Guide to Purchasing an Oriental Rug,” said that mounting the on-line exhibition “was a labor of love. In 1999, at the urging of John Warnock, a client who was CEO of Adobe Systems at the time, we began to use the Internet as a means of displaying our inventory for clients who could not visit the Gallery in person.

“Currently, more than half of our annual sales involve the Internet. To be able to display these 30 world-class rugs on our website and to know that rug connoisseurs from all over the globe will be able to share in the exhibition is extremely gratifying,” he said. This is the first time that the Gallery has exhibited a series of the top rugs it sold in the previous year.

The Claremont inventory is comprised of more than 4000 antique carpets from the Second Golden Age, with nearly 1000 displayed on the website. The rugs in Claremont’s holdings are valued in the $15,000 to more than $500,000 per piece range.

“For 31 years, I have shared my deep passion with our clients,” he said, “and told them that the best 19th century rugs have an impact that is equal to or greater than other art forms. The masterpieces in this online gallery are eloquent ambassadors of this art form.”

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