Tag Archives: Doris Leslie Blau

Business & Design: The William A. Clark Collection

background on last week's record breaking Sotheby's auction

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Detail of the ‘Sickle Leaf’ carpet from the WAC Collection Auction

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Last Wednesday Sotheby’s held its auction of the William A. Clark collection of 25 important carpets, which netted an astonishing $43,764,750.  The crown jewel of the sale was a Safavid Empire ‘Sickle Leaf’ carpet from the first half of the 17th century which features an elaborate floral-on-red design with plum blossoms, vines, cypress trees, dramatic sickle leaves, and a detailed dark border.  The remarkable carpet has been written about by scholars and exhibited at the Sackler Gallery in the Smithsonian as well as overseas.

It brought a winning bid of $33,765,000 (or approximately $600,000 per square foot) which is an auction record for any carpet by a significant margin. The sale price was more than 4 times the auction estimate, and established a new benchmark for any Islamic work of art at auction.

Almost immediately after seeing the blog post from my friends at Doris Leslie Blau chronicling the sale I decided to investigate the back-story of the collection, and to consider the larger implications for the interior design industry.

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Purchasing An Antique Persian Tabriz

a conversation with Nader Bolour of Doris Leslie Blau

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“Searching for an antique rug is where the design process begins for most.   They are the soul of a room, all the other elements of a well-appointed space are there to celebrate it.”

-Nader Bolour

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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.

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