Art Deco American Hooked Rugs
We just love Art Deco rugs. Chinese, of course. European, when we can get them. But when in considering American Hooked rugs, can we get beyond Currier and Ives rustic scenes, favorite pets and elementary pattern repeats such as the “Log Cabin” design? Yes, but it takes some looking. In our extensive collection of antique American Hooked rugs, a few from the 1920’s truly partake in the Deco aesthetic. The narrow red runner with striking elongated medallion and matching corners (6462, 2.6 by 11.7) definitely qualifies. All geometric, with nothing floral or pictorial about it, it certainly looks Jazz Age. Abstraction and potential enlargement without artistic loss are among Deco hallmarks. This runner could be a scatter, a room size, a gallery carpet and still be incredibly striking. We would love to find one in any of these formats. Since hooked rugs are generally one-of-a-kind, even those from professional weavers, the chances are slim to none, but we still can dream!
The two scatters (20304) and (20521) are similarly abstract, employing radiating triangles or stepped lightning flashes both with color schemes in the cool blue direction. The design of 20304 closely resembles that of certain Chinese Deco carpets. Was there any connection or just parallel inspiration? Although these rugs are quite small, they can be enlarged to full room size and still retain powerful visual impact. This is one of the criteria for Deco designs: they van be enlarged or reduced without losing graphic integrity. Just try this with, say, 18th century Rococo or Victorian Gothic.
Speaking of potential enlargements, our 20517 with its black field, bold light blue Greek Key border and poly chrome flower centerpiece, looks like it came right out of a spacious salon on a grand 1930’s ocean liner, but it is, in fact, in scatter size. But it would look great massively expanded.This is a fine example of inspired American Hooked rug design.
What is more Art Deco than Radio City Music Hall? Our 20529 (c. 1930) is a straightaway takeoff on the machine loom carpeting in the vast spaces there. Even the color scheme is related. One can, again, easily imagine this rug as a room size. Of course, Chinese or European Art Deco carpets are room size, and our examples are much smaller, but they have the same period style. They are an underappreciated strand in the vast universe of antique American Hooked rugs.