Monthly Archives: March 2016

Get to Know the Carpet Connoisseur

By the early 20th century St. Louisian James Franklin Ballard (1851-1931) had achieved great success in the industry of non-prescription medicines. His products included Campho-Phenique, a topical antiseptic still available today. The fortune generated by his medications allowed Ballard, a self-trained scholar, to amass an exceptional collection of Oriental carpets and two Persian pleasure tents.… Read More »

The Carpet and the Connoisseur

Originating in the eastern regions of the world, Oriental carpets have served indigenous populations and attracted foreign admirers for centuries. The fifty-one carpets and two Persian pleasure tents on view in The Carpet and the Connoisseur: The James F. Ballard Collection of Oriental Rugs feature lush wool, silk, and cotton yarns, dyed in striking hues,… Read More »

Take a closer look at Currents 112: Andréa Stanislav: Convergence Infinité

Across the Mississippi River from St. Louis’s Gateway Arch, a symbol of westward expansion, one can find vestiges of the largest pre-historic settlement north of Mexico. The Cahokia Mounds in Collinsville, Illinois were built by a civilization which flourished for centuries before its mysterious decline. Both of these sites represent the apex or pinnacle—in a… Read More »

Oriental Carpets and the Women Who Weave Them

In honor of International Women’s Day, we celebrate the female weavers who designed and created most of the works in The Carpet and the Connoisseur: The James F. Ballard Collection of Oriental Rugs. To better understand these artists, we asked for an expert’s opinion. Walter B. Denny, the exhibition’s guest curator and the distinguished professor… Read More »

Installing a Persian Pleasure Tent in The Carpet and the Connoisseur

The small octagonal tent, created as late as 1900, served as a garden pavilion, or fabric gazebo, that offered a shady retreat form the hot sun. Featuring intricate velvet and embroidered designs, this pleasure tent was ideal for outdoor activities. With a central pol, tents such as this are depicted in Persian art from the… Read More »