20th-century carpets for auction at Wright

Bold, colourful designs top the pile at this Chicago sale

Well-designed, handcrafted rugs and carpets have long held their own as works of art. Now an immense selection of 20th-century woven masterpieces will be displayed at Wright from Thursday June 4, ahead of an auction at its Chicago salesroom on Friday June 12.


Around 100 lots place a strong emphasis on European and north African designs, particularly from Scandinavia and Morocco, with a number of striking art-deco and modernist pieces. “The sale is focused on the most innovative and transformative carpet designs of the 20th century; these works are valued for their quality, creativity and rarity,” says Michael Jefferson, senior vice president at Wright.

Standout designs include work from the Märta Måås-Fjetterström studio, which was founded in 1919 and led by a series of talented female designers, from Måås-Fjetterström herself to Barbro Nilsson and Marianne Richter. Their creative influence resulted in bold, colourful designs that marry traditional handcraft with in-vogue art-nouveau and art-deco styling. To wit: Richter’s monumental and rare Strälarna tapestry weave carpet (estimate $70,000-$90,000) in a subtle fusion of blue and grey check, her greeny-grey Fasad flatweave ($20,000-$30,000) and Korsvirke flatweave ($9,000-$12,000, second picture) with its graphic green and white design. Equally alluring is Nilsson’s Rabatten pile carpet ($50,000-$70,000, first picture), whose pinkish-red ground is patterned with circles of various sizes, creating a delicate floral impression, plus her Bankarbatten pile carpet ($10,000-$15,000) from 1966 with circle patterns enlivening a rich rust ground.


Other auction highlights includeRené Crevel’s dramatic art-deco pile carpet ($3,000-$5,000) with its stylised landscape of hills, trees and little buildings, which would look stunning in a minimal contemporary interior; CFA Voysey’s hand-woven Donnemara ($40,000-$60,000, third picture) with its intricate border and complex pattern of plant forms that embraces art nouveau with gusto; and Paule Leleu’s circular pile carpet ($3,000-$5,000, fourth picture), which brings the outdoors inside with a floral-inspired pattern. Combining subtle colours with graphic design are Gunilla Lagerhem Ullberg’s Häggå flatweave ($8,000-$10,000) and a hand-knotted pile carpet by Ivan da Silva Bruhns ($40,000-$60,000, fifth picture). Giving your floors a face-lift has rarely been more appealing.

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