Monday, April 21, 2008

Ursula McCracken memorial - 2:00 to 4:00pm, May 10th at The Textile Museum


Published: April 2, 2008

McCRACKEN--Ursula Naylor Eland, 66, died at home in Baltimore, March 17. A Wellesley College graduate (BA 1963, cum laude, Wellesley Scholar), held two MAs from Johns Hopkins University. A career in arts and education: Albright Knox Gallery; Walters Art Museum and College of Notre Dame in Baltimore. For 18 years she was Director of the Textile Museum in Washington DC where she brought the Museum up to current standards in every area from collections management to financial management while diversifying the exhibitions and educational programs, and building local, national and international audiences and membership. She increased the endowment seven-fold to over $17 million. Survived by her husband, Edward; siblings: Timothy Eland of New York City, Jane Donahue of Wellesley, MA and Faith Shepard of New Canaan, CT. Family and friends will hold a gathering of remembrance from 2:00 to 4:00pm, May 10th at The Textile Museum in Washington. Ursula requested contributions to the American Pain Foundation, Suite 710, 201 N. Charles St. Baltimore, MD 21201 or the Textile Society of America, P.O. Box 193, Middletown, DE 19709.

Swan and Walker at the Textile Museum

Swan and Walker at the Textile Museum
I made it to the Textile Museum RTAM to hear Wendel Swan and Daniel Walker. Wendel was brilliant. I was really impressed by the creative approach Wendel took to a Karapinar carpet fragment. Dan Walker did a nice job of talking about his collection of classical era fragments. The audience seemed notably surprised when Dan showed a copy of the "Goddess in Anatolia" and used it to relate to some of his fragments. Dan handled it well and made some good points. Walker talked a bit about small silk Kashan rugs and related them to a piece in his collection. His concept of a later silk Kashan rug with Jufti knotting was adventurous but he carried it off well. Both Wendel and I asked questions pointing to a Khorasan attribution for the fragments but Walker stood his ground. Dan and I tend to disagree on many of the attributions of classical carpets but it was easy to see the strong academic qualities that made Dan Walker so attractive to the TM when they drafted him. I think he is best thing to happen to the Textile Museum in years. Obviously the TM is lucky to have such a brilliant and dedicated director. Some of the pieces in the show were Harold Keshishian's but I will talk about them later.

Five Very Special Fragments at the TM

Five Very Special Fragments
After the RTAM at the Textile Museum Harold Keshishian and I ducked out quickly and I drove Harold to another engagement in Upper Northwest. As we drove Harold told me about the five pieces that he had in the program. These rugs were very special for a very unusual reason. All of them were presents to Harold from major dealers and collectors. It used to be a custom for top collectors and dealers to give gifts of important rugs and fragments to up and coming collectors and dealers. Fragments were especially prized by all the big collectors, guys like Joe McMullan, Hagop Kevorkian, Ralph Yohe, and Russ Pickering prized them. In fact the two big Indo-Persian fragments on the right were presents from Ralph Yohe, The square Indo-Persian fragment above and too the right of the other two was a gift of Magda Shapiro a top London dealer. (I was especially interested in this one since it had that orange that Ellis used as a marker for Herat.) The two smaller Mughal fragments were a present from Harry Bolsen who ran J.H. Dildarian, Inc. for 80 year old a mainstay of the Madison Avenue rug trade.
Harold is like family to me and I learn so much when we get together. The five fragments are great pieces but they mean a lot more when I know the story behind them.