Exceptional 17th Century Persian rug that once belonged to a U.S. senator William Clark, set a new world record at Sotheby’s auction in New York. The red Clark Sickle Leaf rug with a blue border, dancing vines and vibrant flowers which was stored for decades by the Corcoran Gallery of Art now has been sold for $33.765 million, although its estimated price was mere $5 million to $7 million.This price also establishes a new benchmark for any Islamic work of art at auction.
The winning bidder, whose identity has not been disclosed, participated in the auction via telephone.
“I thought it might sell for ten or fifteen million dollars,” said Mary Jo Otsea, the auctioneer and senior consultant for rugs and carpets at Sotheby’s.
The gallery received the rug from William Clark of Montana, the industrialist and U.S. senator who donated more than 200 works of fine art and rugs to the Corcoran upon his death in 1925.
Created by an unknown Persian artist during the first half of the 17th century, roughly 8-by-6-foot carpet is said to be the epitome of the “vase” technique, perfected during the Safavid dynasty in Persia.
Sotheby’s sale of Important Carpets from the William A. Clark Collection which included 25 exceptional pieces brought an impressive total of $43.764.750, over four times of pre-sale high estimate of $9.6 million, making it the most succesful carpet auction ever held.