On The Block: Knockout 20th Century Carpet Sale At Wright, This Friday June 12


Part of a multi-day Modernist sale, this week’s Wright auction offers a wide selection from the vibrant 20th Century Swedish tradition of hand-woven carpets, featuring the most important Swedish designers (plus some anonymous ones) in the 110 lots, plus some surprising Moroccan finds and a few Art Deco outliers. The sale is in Chicago; more about online bidding at Wright, here.

An intensely colored, hand-woven wool flatweave carpet designed by Kerstin Mauritzson (detail above) from about 1965, Lot 604 is expected to bring $10,000-$15,000.

Märta Måås-Fjetterström was the doyenne of Swedish handwoven carpets, both as a designer and manufacturer, and her namesake workshop made many of the lots in the sale. Lot 502, the Rutig half-pile wool carpet was designed in the late-30s and executed in 1942, is a small but prime example of Måås-Fjetterström’s cool, elegant geometries, and is expected to realize $9,000–12,000.

More cool elegance: Lot 529 by designer Marianne Richter was also produced at the Måås-Fjetterström workshop. The wool tapestry weave is estimated at $15,000 to $20.000.

Lot 511: Woven by hand in wool and linen by the Måås-Fjetterström workrooms, Barbro Nilsson’s Finspong carpet was executed in 1954 and is expected to bring $15,000–20,000. Nilsson integrated traditional folk art motifs and techniques into her designs, and was often commissioned to produce large scale works. Originally produced for Castle Finspong at over 42 feet long; this version is a manageable 9-footer.

Once an heir to the Swedish throne, Count Sigvard Bernadotte gave up all that to become a silversmith and industrial designer, working primarily for Georg Jensen. Very much an aristocrat, until his death is 2002 (he was the oldest surviving grandson of Queen Victoria), Bernadotte worked in a chilly Neo-Classical style, evident in Lot 577, a small but elegant composition of interlocking Greek keys set in a flat-weave field of gold (47×76 inches) expected to bring $5,000–$7,000.

Originally never intended for export, the black-and-white Moroccan tribal carpets have been a designer staple for decades. The idiosyncratic carpets are woven from undyed, natural wool from white sheep with the black (actually a dark grey-brown) coming from dark-fleeced animals. The women who made these had no qualms about switching patterns or direction as suited their fancy, and unlike the more common diagonally lattice patterns executed in heavy fleece (of which there are a number of handsome versions in this sale) Lot 549 is a sea of hyphens. Made c. 2000 and over 12 feet square, it’s expected to bring $9,000-$12,000. Meanwhile, Lot 573 (also below) is a recent carpet in the same heavy pile but in a soft, organized palette and expected to bring between $2,000-$3,000.

It’s a sale that’s full of surprises and with more than 110 lots, we’ve barely touched the surface. Have a look at the full catalogue of the very special collection. Below, Lot 531, Marianne Richter’s witty Solrosen (Sunflower) carpet produced by Märta Måås-Fjetterström AB in the late ’40s. Measuring just under 10 feet long, it’s estimated to sell for $9,000 to $12,000.

20th Century Carpets, June 12, 2015
1440 W Hubbard Street, Chicago, IL 60642

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