Vintage Rugs in New York City
Vintage Rugs and Their Charm
Vintage rugs - they are essential objects of desire of not only vintage trend followers but all aficionados of beauty and sublime design. There is a good reason for such vast recognition as vintage carpets constitute the core of taste and artistry of the 20th century progressive thought. They are clearly defined by the past century’s celebration of new ideas, modern lifestyle and the Renaissance of all arts which happened about that time. The category of vintage rugs has many faces – there are numerous aspects such as historical period, style, fashion, culture, symbolism and philosophy which add up to form the dazzling array of vintage carpets. Among this sensational collection one will find pieces coming from Scandinavia, Morocco, China, England and Continental Europe – in brief, from all over the world. Each and every one of those cultural circles differs severely, so does the philosophy behind vintage rug designs coming from various parts of the globe. However, one thing they have in common – the undeniable quality, which makes them perfect utilitarian objects in modern households, besides being absolute works of art.
The Difference Between Antique Carpets and Vintage Rugs
The very term "vintage" introduces a bit of confusion. Although it is more than frequently uttered nowadays, the very essence of what exactly is vintage and what should be called antique often remains a mystery. As for placing vintage rugs on the time line, they were typically made after the year 1920, whereas antique carpets are considered to be made before that date. There is a general rule saying that antique rugs are those being over 80 years old, making age the major factor distinguishing them from vintage carpets. This division is somehow contractual, cause the line between an antique rug and a vintage rug is rather fluent and changes as we move forward in time. All vintage carpets will become antiques one day and it is in a sense clear. Another way of categorizing vintage rugs, probably more accurate, is linking them to the birth of Modernism.
The History Behind Vintage Rugs
The Modernist movement that emerged at the beginning of the 20th century was a major transition from the era of Victorian salons, full of conventions and social distinctions, to the age of café society, concentrated on fixing all of the ill-fitted aspects of the world. The strive for change resounded strongly in design, introducing many innovations unthinkable in the old days. People discovered the brilliance of simplicity, the excellence of geometric elegance and the power of properly applied, daring colors. They experimented not only with patterns but also with forms and textures of objects. The pomp and excess were left behind to make way for the new concept of beauty. It all transferred to vintage rugs – every trend in architecture and art was reflected also in textiles. One might ask, why exactly carpets? Where this fascination for weaving masterpieces, beginning from the earliest antique rugs, come from? The answer is simple – a rug is a heart of every room. Wool vintage rugs showcase immense diversity in terms of design, ranging from geometric, abstract patterns to native floral or folk motifs with mesmerizing use of color and form.
Art Deco, also known as Style Moderne, appeared in France in the 1920s’ and for a long time constituted a representation of high fashion and luxury. Design studios which distinguished themselves for creating Art Deco interiors were those of Emile Jacques Ruhlmann, Jules Leleu, Paul Follot and Maurice Dufrene, among others. The world of Art Deco vintage rugs was ruled by Ivan Da Silva Bruhns Paule Leleu (the daughter of J. Leleu) or Suzanne Guiguichon, who was designing vintage carpets for, inter alia, Maurice Dufrene. Other tycoons of carpet design, such as Marion Dorn, Jules Coudyser, Rene Crevel and Vladimir Boberman should be mentioned without a question. Thanks to the imagination of those artists, the textile industry entered the world of abstraction, advance graphics, bold, colorful floral patterns and geometric minimalism.
Simultaneously, the famous Bauhaus school was founded in Germany. The philosophy and a major attempt behind the creation of this school, which transformed into a design movement, was to combine fine arts with craftsmanship. The assumption was that utilitarian and architectural objects can be both beautiful and practical and that sublime taste can be instilled in willing students. It proved to be true. The most widely known Bauhaus weavers include Johannes Iten, Gunta Stolz and Anni Albers. This style is largely geometric, organized but not without artistry and certainty not predictable. The Bauhaus aesthetics had an unsurpassed influence on Art Deco vintage rugs, and is clearly apparent in Scandinavian vintage rug design.
Different Types of Vintage Rugs
Although generally vintage rugs from all places in the world share certain common features and are rather distinguishable from antique carpets, they differ quite significantly from one another depending on the exact place of their origin. While a Persian antique rug from Tabriz may be easily confused with a similar creation coming from a different weaving center, or even a different country, like Turkey, vintage rugs, especially those from the first half of the 20th century, are much more diverse in terms of style and applied patterns. Inspired by new trends back then yet still deeply rooted in tradition, and sometimes folklore, of a given country, vintage carpets exhibit an immense array of designs and aesthetics characteristic to nations that produced them. We would like to present some major categories of vintage rug designs and show which way of thinking and historical background influenced particular weaving styles.
Scandinavian Vintage Rugs
Scandinavian floor coverings – Swedish vintage rugs in particular – are one of the major examples of vintage carpets. They have become known around the world for intricate weaving techniques, exceptional color palettes and most importantly – their compatibility with both modern and contemporary interiors. Their greatest strength is the unique Scandinavian aesthetics which was born out of history, philosophy and breathtaking landscapes of the northern countries. It is a style full of symbolism referring to nature where the exact representation of plants, animals or landforms was substituted by geometric, simple motifs. The main idea behind this philosophy of design lies in the dream of social equality. The Scandinavian society, being compatible and unified, assumed that anyone, not only the rich and wealthy, but all citizens, should be able to afford a beautiful and practical interior. It is perfectly reflected in Swedish vintage rugs which have been created by the artists of the finest sort. Marta Maas-Fjetterstrom can be lightly called a Grand Dame of Swedish vintage carpets. She established her own company in 1919 which, after her death in 1942, was taken over by Barbro Nilsson, who became the director and chief designer of the weaving workshop. Other important designers of Swedish rugs in the mid-20th century include Ingrid Dessau, Marin Hemmingson, Sigvard Bernadotte, Brita Grahn, Edna Martin and Viola Grasten. All of them have contributed to the absolute success of Scandinavian rug design, which is nowadays desired more than ever. Scandinavian vintage carpets are praised by contemporary interior designers for the unobtrusive, muted color palettes, heavily relying on a large spectrum of pastel shades, combined with the patterns largely inspired by folklore and geometry.
A Swedish vintage rug is an ideal complement to a wide variety of modern interiors. It can easily fit into the extremely popular Farmhouse décor, it is welcome in all sorts of Cali-Cool and boho arrangements, not to mention the minimalistic and Scandinavian-inspired spaces. Swedish vintage rug designs, with their simplified motifs and serene colors, will without fail introduce the atmosphere of homeliness to any abode.
Chinese Deco Vintage Rugs
Carpet production in China during the first half of the 20th century was gravely influenced by the fine Art Deco vintage rugs originating from France. This was due to the purely economic approach of the Chinese who, seeing the huge market demand, wanted to sell their carpets to Western consumers. Among the two largest exporters of rugs in China were the America’s expatriates – Helen Fette and Walter Nichols. Although competitors, both manufacturers produced handmade wool pile rugs that adapted Chinese designs to western tastes. Some of the rugs from the factories are even so similar that the manufacturer can only be determined by labels or stenciling. Sadly, Nichols’ original vintage rugs are often unidentifiable now due to the fact that his records were almost all destroyed during the Japanese occupation, and also because their white cotton fringe has worn away where he had stenciled. Chinese Deco rugs tend to be more floral than geometric and they showcase an exceptional diversity. An intriguing twist to Chinese wool vintage rugs can be attributed to the Asian influence, absent in the vintage carpets produced in the West. Here, particular attention should be paid to the brave, imaginative use of colors and the traditional Eastern motifs such as bamboos, lotus flowers, Chinese calligraphy or the iconic phoenix and dragon figures. Although these far-oriental patterns are sometimes present as a subtle touch, Chinese Deco rugs should not be confused with antique Chinese rugs. Mid-20th century carpets imported from China were produced mainly to cater for the European and American taste. They have a rather spare and modern appeal in contrast to antique rugs. Nonetheless, their quality is marvelous and an effort of finding a genuine Chinese Deco vintage rug is worth the candle.
Chinese Deco vintage carpets, with their mesmerizing, saturated colors and easily perceptible Asian references hidden within the patterns, are a truly unique and desirable addition to any contemporary interior arrangement. They may instantly fill any room with their vibrant energy and define the space in an absolutely unique way. A genuine Chinese vintage rug, if given a chance, will undoubtedly become a jewel of your décor.
Moroccan Vintage Rugs
Moroccan rugs definitely stand strong in the pantheon of the most sought-after vintage rugs. They are distinguished by the charm deriving from genuineness and strong tribal references. Typically adorned with ethnic patterns, they constitute an authentic book on the culture of the Middle-East. Each of them tells a story but instead of letters there are symbols, ready to reveal the substance to an attentive reader. Everything matters, from the use of color to the smallest fret motif – everything bears a distinguished meaning. The message is usually supposed to be a good omen, a blessing to a person or a household. It was also the means of expression for the female tribal weavers, who could transfer their fears, stories and dreams to the looms. The Modernists in the mid-20th century fell in love with Moroccan vintage rugs, employing them in the modern interior design, however their apple of the eye appeared to be Moroccan Beni Ourain rugs. Their appearance varies from what we know as typical Moroccan rugs. Beni Ourains are dichromatic, with toned beige background and a simple, seemingly reckless pattern, maintained in a light brown shade. Moroccan vintage rugs influenced designers such as Ivan Da Silva Bruhn and Vladimir Boberman. American Interior Designer Francis Elkins used them in some of her most notable interiors in the 1930's and 1940's.
Thanks to their wonderful versatility, vintage rugs from Morocco, especially Beni Ourains, match modern interior arrangements without any problem. Their shaggy, absolutely tempting piles are sheer pleasure to not only eyes but also hands, providing an irresistible palpable sensation. The high-quality wool involved in the production of authentic vintage Moroccan rugs ensures their durability and longevity and makes them ready to withstand years of constant usage without the slightest signs of blemish (if properly cared for). If you want something unobtrusive yet intriguing to complement your décor, Moroccan vintage carpets are the perfect choice.
Arts&Crafts Vintage Rugs
The Arts and Crafts movement in England was co-founded by William Morris – a famous painter, architect and textile designer – during the 1870's. Morris’ designs appeared to have a great impact on the art world in general. They spread rapidly throughout Europe and North America, and played major role in shaping the creative life of Great Britain. Proponents of the Arts and Crafts movement sought to re-establish the link between the artist and the craftsman, and art and industry, in a way as a form of rebellion against their rigid Victorian backgrounds and the dehumanizing mechanization of the Industrial Age. The distinctive style of Arts and Crafts vintage rugs and carpets is defined and characterized by serpentine curvilinear and naturalistic floral patterns executed in a rich, dense palette.
Although born in an entirely different reality, Arts and Crafts vintage rugs are easily implemented in contemporary interior arrangements. It can be attributed to their balanced, utterly tasteful and appealing designs which have the power of transcending time and ever-changing fashions. This is why, an arts and crafts vintage rug is a perfect choice for you house décor, no matter the style. The floral, meandering yet not overcomplicated patterns merged with soothing and toned color palettes create a serene combination, irresistible to all lovers of timeless beauty. An arts and crafts vintage rug design may be matched with a wide variety of décors, from classic, like Victorian, Modern Farmhouse, Hollywood Regency or Neoclassical, through minimalistic, including Vintage Scandinavian or Cali-Cool, to futuristic and miscellaneous, such as Mid-Century Modern or Shabby Chic. Most of Arts&Crafts vintage carpets are permeated with magic and mystery of Celtic references. Born in England but based on ancient oriental craft, these floor coverings constitute a merger of excellent quality and elegant designs incorporating the wonders of English nature and the old beliefs of the Islanders.
American Vintage Rugs
At the same time the modernist movement stormed into the United States and was warmly welcomed, most likely as a result of major exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art and at the Metropolitan Museum in New York City. These exhibitions presented the movement to the wider audience and ensured its success in all forms of arts. It inspired some of the most notable textile and rug designers working in the United States, such as Donald Desky, Stanislav V'Soske, Eliel Saarinen, Loja Saarinen (the mother of Eero Saarinen) and Ruth Reeves. After the closing of the Bauhaus school, many of the architects and designers associated with the school immigrated to the United States, including Josef and Anni Albers. Numerous brilliant wool vintage rugs for sale were created thanks to the emergence of the movement in America.
Hooked Vintage Rugs
Rug hooking might have been born in Europe, nonetheless, hooked vintage rugs in their most popular version probably originated in North America. Rug hooking, as many respected crafts, including the tying of rag rugs, has humble origins. It was a way of reusing old fabric scraps in order to transform them into practical floor coverings by the less affluent part of the society. Made of whatever was available, hooked vintage rugs usually exhibit an astounding variety of colors, textures and patterns, dependent on the creativity of the weaver and the region of making in equal measure. The represented motifs included fallen leaves, seashells, animals, pictorial scenes, plants and abstract concepts. The primary hooked rugs made of hand-torn scraps were much more primitive than today’s intricate and well thought-out creations. The commercialization of rug hooking came with the rapid raise in their popularity. Today, the craft is well and about, exploring new techniques, materials and aesthetic concepts. The innovations and experimentation, along with the deep memory of the humble origins and respect for tradition, will allow rug hooking to evolve and grow in the 21st century.
Hooked vintage rugs are widely sought-after by interior designers and art aficionados for their unique appeal, introducing an unobtrusive and tasteful folkloristic vibe into the décor. There is nothing better to create a feel of homeliness and warmth than a hooked vintage rug design.
Dhurrie Vintage Rugs
Flat-woven and similar to kilims in texture and construction, Dhurrie vintage rugs originated in India and the surrounding areas. Originally created for practical reasons such as floor covering, bedding, and dowry (in certain regions), dhurries are nowadays recognized as the ancient art form which survived until this day and now can please the eyes of modern tastemakers. From the very beginning, dhurrie carpets were used by the wealthy and poor alike – they were above the social distinctions, not dependent on class, and serving everyone in equal measure. Their primary designs were simple and uncomplicated as the practical function of dhurries was decisively above the decorative one. Nonetheless, in the first half of the 20th century, these fabulous textiles became highly desired around the globe and experienced a major boom in popularity which also influenced their development.
Designs of vintage carpets of dhurrie type vary enormously, from coarse to meticulously woven, plain to incredibly detailed. Their color palette very often consists of subtle tones of ivory and indigo – the most distinguished Indian dye. Dhurries are usually made of cotton or wool (although there are instances of silk, or jute ones) in a special weaving technique which allows them to be resistant to Silverfish and other insects responsible for destroying rugs. They are easily portable as their cotton-based construction is lighter in comparison to the traditional, thick weave.
A dhurrie vintage rug is a marvelous addition to any home décor in the modern era. The exotic charm and upmost practicality of dhurries makes them an excellent choice to introduce the warmth and beauty of the orient into the interior.
The History of Blue Vintage Rugs and Navy Vintage Rugs
Although decorative carpets come in a plethora of styles, colors and patterns, the story of blue vintage rugs as well as navy vintage rugs is somewhat special. There are not many things in nature that can be turned into a long-lasting, durable and saturated blue dye for textiles, thus, this shade has always been causing the biggest commotion and evoking the greatest emotions. Certainly, the turn of the 20th century has brought about an entirely new option for carpet manufacturers – artificial dyes – however, all artisans faithful to the traditional and centuries-long ways of weaving floor coverings have abstained from applying them to their blue vintage rugs and navy vintage rugs.
The history tells us that in medieval Europe, the most commonly used blue dye was that obtained from woad plant. It resulted in a slightly whitened and washed out shade which today we would describe as pastel blue ( actually, “pastel” was the name given to this very color!). It was considered a dye for commoners and lowly parts of the society, as it was widely accessible yet not very impressive or lasting. However, everything changed around the 15th century with the arrival of indigo – the most precious Indian blue dye. Obtained from the plant known as “Indigofera tinctoria”, indigo was distinguished by the depth of saturation, durability, and an extremely appealing shade. Despite the fact it has been in usage by the inhabitants of India for millennia ( it was even known to ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia, Peru, Egypt, Africa and Iran – a former Persian Empire), it only came to Europe in the Middle Ages to quickly take over the reins and become the most favorite of all dyes.
Today, artists, designers and tastemakers still remain under the spellbinding influence of the color, and a naturally dyed blue vintage rug is a rare treat to them, not to mention collectors or art aficionados. A blue vintage rug, especially a navy vintage rug, is going to enrich any contemporary interior décor. Blue is a shade associated with peace, intelligence, tranquility, and reliability. It provides a sense of security, curbs appetite, and stimulates productivity as it is the best color for concentration. A navy vintage rug is an excellent way to add depth to the arrangement in an unobtrusive, classy, tasteful and absolutely timeless way.
Large Vintage Rugs
Although younger than antique rugs, large vintage rugs are still one of the most sought-after kinds of woven goods. They can be found in any color, size and pattern. From European elegance to subtle Chinese beauty, the richness of authentic vintage pieces is simply astonishing. Numerous collectors consider big vintage rugs to be a great investment for the future, as they tend to be durable and their worth increases with each passing day.
Medium Vintage Rugs
Not too big, not too small – medium vintage rugs were produced in every country dealing with carpet production. Due to that fact, their variety is immense and you may find a medium authentic vintage rug for sale in NYC in almost every existing weaving style, pile length and design. This freedom of choice, as well as practical aspects like the fact that they easily fit into contemporary apartments, make medium vintage carpets the most frequently picked type by customers around the world. Whether it is a Scandinavian vintage rug, a Chinese Deco or European Deco vintage rug, a Dhurrie rug, an Arts&Crafts rug, a Moroccan vintage rug, a hooked rug, a Spanish rug or a Samarkand vintage rug in New York City that you’re seeking, you’ll most definitely find in in medium size.
Small Vintage Rugs
Handy and charming, small vintage rugs are the apple of the eye of tastemakers and designers around the world. They are the proverbial “icing on the cake” of every design, as they unobtrusively complement the space, avoiding excess yet adding colors and patterns in a visible way. A small vintage rug is simply ideal for the super trendy tea-table arrangement. It is absolutely irreplaceable in the bathroom, a kitchen or a vestibule as a subtle touch, bringing in warmth and a homely atmosphere. At Doris Leslie Blau we take pride in purveying first-rate vintage rugs for sale to New York City, and other parts of the globe.
DLB as a Trusted Purveyor of Vintage Rugs
No matter your preference for color, texture or style, Doris Leslie Blau offers the widest selection of authentic vintage rugs for sale in NYC and other parts of the world to fulfill your dreams. Vintage carpets are notable for the wide variety of styles in which they are available, and the marvelous effect they have on every interior arrangement. Whether you are looking for small, room-size or area rugs, there is a vintage rug design in our stocks to suit your taste.
At Doris Leslie Blau, we approach the subject of carpets with passion and devotion as we all are under the spellbinding influence of intricate, hand-woven floor coverings from every corner of the world. Bearing this deep love for eternal beauty in our hearts, we are dedicated to spreading the knowledge about magnificent vintage rugs in order to make people appreciate, but most importantly – understand – all complexities and stories woven into an intertwining warp and weft of each awe-inspiring vintage rug design.
An Exceptional Collection of Vintage rugs for Sale
Doris Leslie Blau is proud to be in possession of an incredibly vast collection of antique carpets and vintage rugs for sale which will please the eyes and the hands of even the most demanding connoisseurs. Visit our New York City Gallery and experience the magic and mystery of weaving masterpieces for yourself. And if by any chance you are visiting the capital, step into The Washington Design Center, 1099 14th Street N.W. Washington, D.C. 20005, to see our showroom. You will not be disappointed.