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Magazine    June 2001

Carpet Masters

Like antiques, oftentimes careers and professions are passed along from generation to generation. In the case of brothers Eddy and Arto Keshishian, they acquired an intuitive knowledge about antique rugs from their father, an Armenian who became a wholesaler in London during the second world war. But after he passed away and they took over the business, the brothers went in a new direction. “We decided to focus on more rarified antique carpets,” says Eddy, “and in the past 10 years we’ve gone in a number of new directions: psychedelic, Art Deco, Arts and Crafts. We even sold a Bugatti Panther woven in Aubusson.”

The latest news from the Keshishian brothers is an antique carpet gallery in New York. Why? Well, as Eddy (above), who mans the outpost, puts it, “most of our clients are here and it just made sense to be closer to them than a transatlantic flight.” As in London, the New York gallery spotlights oversized pieces, which the Keshishians are known for, and covers the gamut of 18th- and 19th-century European and Middle Eastern carpet weaving, as well as 16th- to 18th-century Flemish, Dutch and French tapestries.

Eddy and Arto don’t buy commercially, instead opting to literally scour the English countryside and parts of Europe for large house sales and auctions of antique rugs with provenance. What they turn up are pedigreed antique carpets in great condition, such as the antique Aubusson in the picture, which measures 13˝ feet by 17˝ feet and was one of three commissioned by the First Earl of Brocket in Hertfordshire, England, circa 1825. The early-18th-century Brussels tapestry, by Judocus De Vos, depicts the story of Jupiter and Mercury.

As a counterpoint to traditional rugs, the Keshishians are hot in pursuit of the unconventional. Sure to be a hit in New York is a series of “Pop Art” carpets by the masters—Andy Warhol, Verner Panton, Pierre Cardin, Victor Vassarelli and Roy Lichtenstein.

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