The Jeziorak Vase Carpets

It came to Sotheby's as The 'Jeziorak' 'vase' carpet, Persia, probably Kirman, and sold for 302,500 GBP in an auction on 3 July 2013. Its size is approximately 270x175cm; and it is dated around the 17th century.

This carpet according my records has cotton warps and a combination of wool, cotton and silk wefts with a wool pile .I see it as a master piece from Joshaghan (Jowshaqan) and according to all accounts was kept in theJeziorak church in Poland with no clear history as to how it got there. At a later date it came into the hands of Dr Albert Figdor (1843-1927) who was a son of a Viennese merchant Ferdinand Figdor (1805-1876) who was the uncle of violinist Joseph Joachim. He was an important Austro Hungarian private collector and Viennese banker at the turn of the century and he might have had this carpet in his collection until 1908, since this carpet has been mentioned in a book by Sarre, Altorientalische Teppiche, where it was called the Figdor 'vase’).Figdor wanted to donate his collection to the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, which opened in 1891, but that did not materialize due to an export ban.

This magnificent carpet appears again later in the collection of Hans Henrik Ágost Gábor, Baron Thyssen-Bornemisza de Kászon et Impérfalva (13 April 1921 – 26 April 2002), a noted industrialist and art collector who was a Dutch-born Swiss citizen with a Hungarian title, a legal resident of Monaco for tax purposes, with a declared second residency in the United Kingdom, but in actuality a long-time resident of Spain, and son of a German father and a Hungarian and English American mother (related to Daniel M. Frost and John Kerry).His fifth and last wife, Carmen "Tita" Cervera, is a former Miss Spain. Upon his father's death, Thyssen-Bornemisza inherited TBG (Thyssen-Bornemisza Group) Holdings N.V., a business empire that included oil, Bremer Vulkan (naval construction) and large parts of Rotterdam harbor, as well as a major art collection with hundreds of paintings of European masters from between the 14th and the 19th century. It is likely that his father, Heinrich Thyssen bought the Figdor Vase carpet at an auction to add to the collection.

Heinrich Thyssen, who had completed a doctorate in Philosophy at the University of London, married Baroness Margit Bornemisza de Kászon, daughter of a Hungarian nobleman, in 1905, and became the first Baron Thyssen-Bornemisza,the couple settled Schloss Rohoncz in present-day Hungary, but in 1919 they moved to Amsterdam. It was there that they set up the headquarters of their business and where, in 1921, their son Hans Heinrich was born. In spite of the difficulties of the post-war era, Heinrich continued adding to his collection with mainly old masters, and by the year of his death in 1947 had collected an impressive 525 works. In 1930 his collection was exhibited to the public for the first time in the Neue Pinakothek in Munich. The exhibition was a great success and a milestone for art historians of the time. It encouraged the Baron to continue collecting, also widening his interest to include furniture, tapestries, Persian carpets, jewellery and other works of art.

To house his ever-growing collection and to protect it from the turbulent politics of interwar Europe, in 1932 Heinrich bought Villa Favorita in Lugano from Prince Leopold of Prussia. He lived in the villa from then on and had a gallery built in its gardens. He wanted to exhibit his collection to the public and made sure the gallery provided the optimum conditions for his works. The gallery opened in 1936, but closed again just a few years later with the outbreak of World War II. It reopened again in 1949, the same year in which Heinrich died and the youngest of his children, Hans Heinrich, took charge of the collection....including this carpet....On his father death, the collection was divided between the four children of the first Baron Thyssen. Hans Heinrich, the youngest and just 26 years old at the time, was the only child who decided to follow in the footsteps of his father. He was also in charge of the family business. Hans Heinrich worked hard to reunite many of the works that had been scattered by the inheritance.

Hans Heinrich organised a full programme of worldwide exhibitions in the 1960s bringing selections of works to cities in Germany, Japan, Belgium, France, Australia, New Zealand, Russia and the United States. He also organised two exhibitions in Madrid. Hans Heinrich received a number of offers from governments and organisations from all around the world such as the Getty Foundation in Los Angeles and the British, German and Spanish governments. In 1988 the Spanish government put forward the idea of the Villahermosa Palace in Madrid, (diagonally opposite the Prado Museum) to house the collection. This solution guaranteed that the collection would stay together and be kept in the best conditions. It was also an excellent location for a museum. With the support of his Spanish wife, Carmen Cervera, the Baron decided on Spain. So in 1988 a nine-year loan agreement was signed, handing over the most important works of the collection to Madrid, and a small part to the Monasterio de Pedralbes in Barcelona. In exchange, the Spanish Government provided the building and set up a Foundation that guaranteed sufficient funds to manage the collection appropriately.

This carpet was still was in Lugano in 1978 and moved to Madrid according to the Hali Magazine issue October 1992, until its reappearance at Sotheby’s.