An Oscar Isberian Blog by Diane Cotton Caplan

The final installment of Oscar Isberian’s “World of Antique Rugs │ Learning Sessions” took place on December 5th, with brothers Oscar and Sarkis Tatosian hosting a large and inquisitive audience at their Evanston showroom. “We started this series to shine a spotlight on antique rugs and to help our customers feel less intimidated by these mysterious pieces of textile art,” said Sarkis Tatosian. “Our four Learning Sessions have been so well received and the audiences so engaged that we hope to schedule more in 2018.”

The focus of this December session: “Antique Rugs: Good, Better, Best,” had expert Oscar Tatosian guiding attendees through a show and tell of sorts. Unrolling a series of three similar antique pieces, Tatosian helped the audience to understand which option was the Good rug, which was the Better quality and which was the Best piece of the three.

“It wasn’t that easy finding three of a kind that met the criteria of “Good, Better, Best” because we try only to buy the best,” Tatosian said.

Nonetheless, he rose to the task. In the flatweave category, three distinctive Kilims were opened up side by side, with Tatosian asking the crowd if they could take a guess at which was Good, which was Better and which was the Best. Then, Tatosian explained that the fine Kurdish flatweave from Iran was the Best, leaving the striped Indian Kilim in the Better category and a “clumsy yet lovely” Bessarabian Kilim from Turkey in the Good spot.

The evening went on from there, showcasing trios of Persian Sarouks, fine Bidjars, Bakhtiaris, Ferahans and Serapis, with fun anecdotes about the designs or where the rugs were purchased, adding provenance and color to each group.

Among the crowd were the firms’ business manager, Vahan Janjigian, rug specialists Mesrop Darian and Seth Rickard, plus other staff and family members, including the Tatosians’ mother, Mariam, who participated in one of the most endearing anecdotes of the evening. As Oscar was describing the garden designs of southern Persian Bakhtiaris, showing one 7×10 piece that belonged to his grandfather, his mother, Mariam, chimed in. “When I was a kid, I’d jump from flower patch to flower patch,” she said of the sentimental design.

Asked by one audience member what percentage of the firm’s more than 10,000 new and antique rugs would the brothers never sell, Oscar replied, “Only a few. We are not a museum. We reconciled to ourselves a long time ago that we are dealers. We are in the business to sell.”

For more information, call Oscar Isberian Rugs at (847) 475-0000.