This article originally appeared in the January 2013 issue of CJ Dellatore
Doris Leslie Blau married into the antique rug business and opened her eponymous gallery in 1965. While many in the industry chose rugs based on provenance, she selected the rugs for her collection based on their rarity, uniqueness and beauty – and her firm’s clientele knew it. In 1998, she went into semi-retirement, selling the gallery to Nader Bolour, but only after spending years teaching him the fine art of vetting acquisitions equal to her standards. Our Design Editor Carl Lana and I stopped in to learn about some of the characteristics attributed to a fine Persian Tabriz.
Persian Tabriz rugs are woven in the city of Tabriz, in the north-west corner of Iran, which has been one of the world capitals for rug production for centuries. We asked Nader to show us 3 examples, and to explain the finer points of their designs.
The first rug we considered is referred to as a Mihrab, or Prayer rug. You can learn all the specifications here, but we asked Nader to help us understand what makes it so special. “First, it’s in amazing condition, and dates from around 1880.” He explained further. “While many Tabriz rugs have central medallions with symmetrical designs – and typical coloration based in reds and blues, this rug is woven quite differently. It’s a true work of art. The muted rose background, and range of colors, coupled with the asymmetry of the gardens, borders, poems and prayers amalgamated within make it a remarkable specimen. It’s subtle, and exceptionally sophisticated.”
The second rug we considered, the specifications of which can be viewed here, is unique in other ways. Nader shared, “This rug, also from the late 19th century, has a stunning red field, celadon medallions which are staggered, and a remarkably intricate cartouche border. When I consider making a purchase of an antique rug such as this, I envision a designer who will respond to it. I’ve learned over the years that provenance is far less important than aesthetics – and the visceral reaction a designer has to the color, abrash, motifs, and subtle nuances in the overall design. This rug for example has full circle pools or gardens, half circles, and quarter circles. It took astonishing craftsmanship to produce this rug, and for the designer with a bold vision, it will be sensational.”
This, the third and last rug Nader showed us is again quite extraordinary. The specifications can be found here. The contrast of the camel field and the impressively varied shades of blue, lavender, mauve and saffron are lyrical. Nader had a specific reason for showing us this rug. “Prices for fine Persian Tabriz rugs vary greatly. This rug, with more classical motifs, and more overall symmetry is less expensive. It also speaks to a designer who prefers order, and perhaps an opportunity to scheme a more spirited room.”
Nader gave us an ample amount of information, and welcomes the opportunity to meet with both established and new design professionals to help them understand his collection. There’s also an adjacent gallery which DLB Creative Director Susan Izsak manages, with a vast and interesting collection of new rugs.
This article originally appeared in the January 2013 issue of CJ Dellatore.