Selected Highlights From Rabinovic’s Collection
Samy and Sara Rabinovic Collection of Anatolian village Rugs and Textiles
Samy Rabinovic (1940-2021), a native of Istanbul, Turkey, spent his formative years surrounded by rugs due to his uncle’s role as the director of the Anglo-Persian Rug Company. Surprisingly, his early passion lay in chemistry rather than textiles. After earning an advanced degree in Polymer Sciences from the University of Massachusetts in 1969, he dedicated many years to Rohm and Haas (now a part of Dow Chemical), eventually rising to the position of Head of Research and Development in their Plastics Division until his retirement in 1995.
A turning point occurred in 1983 when Samy met Dr. Harold Boehmer during an ICOC conference in London. Dr. Boehmer, a fellow chemist, became Samy’s mentor, guiding him into the fascinating world of dyeing wool. Samy’s keen discernment, refined taste, and extensive knowledge of dye-craft became the driving force behind his impressive collection of Anatolian village rugs and textiles.
Active in rug societies, Samy was a member of the Princeton Rug Society and served as the president of the Philadelphia Rug and Textile Society. Renowned for his expertise, he was a sought-after speaker, particularly excelling in the identification of Turkish woven textiles through their distinctive colors. Additionally, he played a pivotal role in organizing rug conferences, both in the United States and internationally, including ACOR and ICOC.
Following his retirement in 1995, Samy embarked on a second career leading tours across Turkey and Central Asia, with a focus on Ottoman history and the evolution of Anatolian village weaving. The culmination of his passionate exploration is embodied in the remarkable collection curated by Samy and Sara. This collection features numerous stunning rugs, fragments, and textiles primarily sourced from the Central and Eastern Anatolia regions of Turkey.
Lilo Markrich Collection of Antique and Early Textiles
The textiles and books are from the personal collection of Lilo Markrich (1923 -2022), a gifted weaver, needleworker and author. The collection offered at auction consists of textile-related books, embroideries, woven textiles, and textile fragments she acquired, as well as items she received from her uncle, Heinz Edgar Kiewe (1907-1986), an authority on the history and design of knitwear and embroidered tapestry. The collection is highly eclectic and reflects the interests of individuals who were artisans in their own spheres, drawn to the structure, pattern, design and color of woven materials and handwork, particularly in the context of domestic textiles.
Markrich was born in Koenigsberg, East Prussia, and raised by her maternal grandparents and uncle. The family emigrated to England in 1933 where it opened and operated the Art Needlework Industries, Ltd. Opened first in London, and then moved to Oxford after the London store was bombed out in the war, the shop functioned as a crafts workshop where designers, artists, embroiderers, knitters, crocheters and weavers could find the materials needed for handmade goods.
In 1947 Markrich traveled to San Francisco where she met and married her husband. The couple lived in California, and while there she developed her skills as a weaver, purchasing a large Gilmore foot loom and working with local textile artists. After the couple moved to Key West, Florida circa 1960 she became part of that island’s vibrant arts culture and excelled at weaving distinct and unique pieces. One in particular, Key West Colours, was featured in the Smithsonian’s Fifth Biennial Creative Crafts Exhibition.
A subsequent move to the Washington, D.C. area led to Markrich teaching weaving in a new program for children with special needs, and teaching textile arts, especially needlepoint, to adults. She was an early volunteer with The Textile Museum, then located on S Street in Washington D.C. Over time, her role at The Textile Museum evolved from volunteer to museum shop executive. It was at the museum in the early 70s where she helped pioneer the use of the museum’s collection as a source of design for museum products, such as ties, scarves, and patterns, thereby helping the Museum generate revenue.
Markrich authored several books and articles on textile arts. In the review of her book Principles of the Stitch, the New York Times reviewer observed that if any book can prevent really original needle arts from going the way of the illuminated manuscript, it’s this one.” Markrich wrote Enjoy Embroidery with Mary Raymond, as a simple guide for her beginning adult students. And with her uncle, she co- authored Victorian Fancywork – 19 th Century Needlepoint Patterns and Designs. In addition to her books, Markrich worked as a contributing editor to Threads magazine, a Taunton press publication, and as a writer for Piecework. For Dover press, she collaborated with her uncle to write about folk cross stitch designs.
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