Isfahan carpet at Sotheby's

New money is pouring into the art market as never before. Two sales conducted at Sotheby’s in the past six weeks, one in New York on June 5 and the other in London on July 3, reveal the massive impact this unexpected intrusion has on prices in areas that long seemed too specialized to tempt the new buyers. When the auction house announced that its New York sale would include the rugs that the entrepreneur and politician William A. Clark bequeathed in 1925 to the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, it did not exactly cause a worldwide stir. Collecting carpets from Safavid Iran, Ottoman Turkey and Egypt or Moghul India requires an understanding of complex cultures and a degree of technical knowledge. Moreover, the offerings were a mixed bag.

Read More: At Sotheby’s, Treasure is as Treasure Does

See also: Clark Sickle-Leaf Carpet Breaks World Record at Sotheby’s