Tag Archives: Sotheby’s

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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