After a childhood in Denver, Colorado, Don Cadle attended Yale University in 1946, and after graduation, went on to Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, earning a doctorate in History in 1953. Then followed three years in the Army in West Germany, where he worked in military intelligence, and where he met and married Ingebord, his life partner and co-collector of rugs.
Following his Army service, Don and Inge moved back to the U.S., where Don worked for a number of Federal Agencies, including the Bureau of the Budget and the Department of Commerce, ending up as the CFO for NASA. Finally, after 25 years of public service, in 1978 Don started his own highly successful investment firm.
Don and Inge were the consummate partners when it came to rug collecting: Don contributed enthusiasm, a terrific eye, and financial wherewithal, while Inge, partly because of her expertise in needlework, did all the technical analysis and, of course, had her own passionate enthusiasms. Though they began their collecting life (as many of us do) with formal Persian rugs, they gradually found their attention drawn to the tribal and village rugs of Turkey, the Caucasus, Southwest Persia, and Central Asia. But above all, as Don put it, the two passions of his life were Chinese porcelain and Chinese rugs. Sadly, Don died in 1996, and the collection has been dormant ever since.
Skinner is honored to offer, unreserved, The Cadle Collection in the April 28 Fine Oriental Rugs & Carpets auction, and to celebrate Don and Inge Cadle’s erudition, engagement, and accomplishments as collectors.
A few highlights from the collection include:
Lot 126, Kasim Ushag Rug. Here we have the epitome of South Caucasian weaving — clear, saturated colors, an archaic design that is both ancient and aggressively up-to-date, made with lustrous wool. The Cadles were especially responsive to wool quality; that is, how long pile, lanolin-rich wool can impart a kind of inner light to some village rugs. That’s also why, in most cases, condition was so important to them: an antique rug in full pile is a different object than the same rug worn down to the knot-collars.
Lot 65, Qashqai Kilim. This empty-field flat-woven rug, probably an “eating cloth,” is a masterpiece of abstract art. Because the only “design” in the brilliant red field comes from the subtle changes in color saturation, our eyes are free to invent what we see — whether it’s a desert landscape, or ripples in a pond, or wave after wave of the cosmic void. And all of it surrounded by a generous, powerful yet playful, yellow latch-hook border. This is tribal weaving at its most inspired and inspiring.
Lot 38, Serapi Carpet. Made approximately 120 years ago in Northwestern Iran, this carpet combines the best of the urban Persian workshop tradition with the best of village cottage industry carpet production. The workshop ideal to rug-making involves a coherent, “readable” design, made with the best materials (wool, dyes, etc.), and with a fine enough weave that the designer’s drawing can be accurately rendered. The strengths of the village rug-making aesthetic, which this carpet beautifully embodies, are all here: brilliant, unmuddy colors, a striking border, enough space between the design elements that they seem to float, and, as can be seen in the unresolved border corners, giving the weavers enough latitude that they are free to improvise.
Lot 94, Ningxia Rug. This large, elegant rug — more like a small carpet, actually — as with most of the Cadle collection, is in very good condition, has wonderful color, and has a design that is pleasing, balanced, and easy to read. What is particularly noteworthy in this rug is the survival of the lovely apricot field-color, a color that is notoriously light-sensitive and subject to fading. But not here.