Spuhler. F., König. H., Volkmann. M., Alte Orienteppiche Meisterstücke aus Privatsammlungen, Munich, 1978, pp. 47 & 47, pl. 9.
There are only very slight variations in design within the group, notably in the design of the mihrab, spandrels and borders. The mihrab and spandrels each have two differing designs; the mihrab is defined by the spandrel outline, which is divided between a stylised trellised vinery or arabesque, and the other, as in the present work, a cloudband motif. Their popularity in the West is made evident by their appearance in European paintings, dating back to the early 16th century. An example of a cloudband rug can be seen within Calling of St. Matthew, by Girolamo da Santacroce, signed and dated 1519, Bassano, Museo Civico.
This ‘small medallion’ shares similar elements, and border design, to a select group of other rugs within the group. For one such example, from the Textile Museum, Washington, which, like the offered lot, has the border cloudbands facing out, see Völker. A., ‘Uberlegunungen zur Neuafstellung der Orienteppichesammlung deds Östereichischen Museums für angewandte Kunst in Wien’ Hali, December 1989, issue 48, p. 43. Another example with the yellow border cloudbands facing outwards can be seen in the Metropolitan Museum, acc. no. 22.100.111, formerly in the James F. Ballard Collection and a ‘small medallion’ sharing this feature and colour palette sold Christie’s New York, 8 December 2008, lot 50. On reviewing A Foreshadowing of 21st Century Art it is clear to see that what drew Alexander to many, if not all, of the pieces in his collection are their exemplary vibrancy in colour and it is this which also drew him to the offered lot. The yellow which expands from the very centre of the quatrefoil medallion to the outer tip of the cloudband border is both striking and compelling. One example to appear at auction, which bears similar field design and use of colour sold Sotheby’s London, 8 October 2014, lot 192.
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