Art Deco Fur Carpet, ca. 1925
It is in my husband's family. It belonged to his grandfather. They lived in Chicago and they came from Vienna. And they came to America in 1912. My husband's grandfather was a tailor and apparently he had a friend, a client, who was a furrier and they gave him this as payment for work he did as a tailor.
Is there any chance it could possibly have been from France, from Paris in particular?
I have no knowledge of that. I would not expect that to happen.
Okay, because I've got to tell you when I first saw this today, the first thing that came into my mind was this fabulous fur carpet that was displayed in Jeanne Lanvin's booth in the 1925 decorative arts show in Paris. It has a very similar layout of furs, the same sort of fan medallion, and it really just struck my mind. So without any history from you, I would have said this was Paris, 1925, 1930, somewhere there. One of the difficulties when you're working with a fur rug is there's no way to really date it from its technique, because furs are always joined together in the same manner. If it was made in Chicago in the 1920s, it was made by someone who was very au courant with what was going on in the most avant garde circles of Paris at the same time. That sort of Francophile knowledge would lend them to do something like a fleur-de-lis in the corners, I believe. So what do you think about it? Do you like it as an object?
I like it because it's so unique. I've gotten different reactions from the people that have seen this. People either love them or hate them.
It's, I think, often a reaction to the fur. I personally love them. I think it's fabulous. There is one problem with a fur rug like this, particularly when you've got species that here, that look like it's probably jaguar or ocelot or something that's now on the endangered species list. It really causes a problem in terms of valuation. If I had this in my shop in New York and if I could sell it, I would be wanting to get somewhere between $30,000 and $40,000 for it as a retail price.
However, with potentially endangered species in it, it could only be sold if we had something called a CITES permit, which is something issued by the Department of Fish and Wildlife. We would need to be able to authenticate beyond a doubt that this piece was made and that the furs were collected prior to a certain date-- and it depends on the species as to what date that would be-- before we could acquire that permit and before we could sell it. The skins will dry out, and you need to try to keep it in an environment that doesn't have dramatic changes in climate.
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