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The rewards of rug collecting: Victor Mashihi shares his family's heritage and a lifetime passion

Collecting works of art has always been considered an eternal passion - a way to preserve and appreciate cultural heritage. Renowned art patrons have not only carefully saved priceless works of great masters, but have also directly influenced the course of art history.

Allow me to introduce Victor Mashihi, a patron of our times whose family has made significant contributions to the world of art collecting. Victor's family has a rich heritage in the world of art collecting. He himself has spent more than four decades collecting an impressive collection of antique Persian rugs, European tapestries, and works of fine art, each with its unique history and value.

As a collector, dealer, Victor Gallery owner and expert in the field, Victor has a wealth of experience and knowledge to share with fellow collectors and art lovers. In this talk, we will delve into the evolution of his business, the changing trends in the art world, and his views on digital and NFT-based art.

I invite you to immerse yourself in an exclusive interview with Victor Mashihi, where you can not only learn how to start investing in exceptional works of art and expand your collection, but also discover the latest trends in this field.

Victor Mashihi Family Portrait
Victor Mashihi Family Portrait

Yuliana Arles: Hi Victor, let's commence our conversation right from the roots. As far as I know, your grandfather's journey from Iran to Egypt in 1916 started your family's legacy in the art collecting world. Could you elaborate on the evolution of your business since its inception? How did your family's rich heritage fuel your passion for art and craft and shape your future direction?

Victor Mashihi: Certainly. My family's rich heritage in art collecting and appreciation has played a significant role in shaping my passion and direction in the field. From the time of my grandfather's journey to Egypt, our family has been deeply involved in acquiring and preserving fine art and antique pieces. Over the years, we have diversified our collection and expanded our business to include the 1stbid online auction house and other services for collectors and the art community. Our focus has always been on preserving and sharing the beauty and value of these works, while also staying attuned to the latest trends and developments in the art world.

Yuliana Arles: I can assume that, having been a collector for over 40 years, you certainly have a wealth of experience. Could you share how your tastes and preferences have changed over that time? Can you share any memorable events or pivotal moments in your collecting journey?

Victor Mashihi: Over the course of my 40 years as a collector, my tastes, and preferences have certainly evolved. When I first started collecting, I was primarily focused on antique Persian rugs. As I became more immersed in the art world, I began to appreciate other types of art and craft, such as European tapestries and fine art pieces.

I have also become more interested in mid-century modern design in recent years.

One of the most memorable moments in my collecting journey was the acquisition of a rare Persian rug from the Safavid period, which was made in the 16th century. It was a truly unique and exquisite piece, and acquiring it was a turning point in my collecting journey.

Another memorable event was the discovery of a European tapestry from the 17th century, which had been lost for centuries before it was rediscovered and brought to auction. It was a thrilling experience to be able to bring such a rare and historically significant piece into my collection.

Victor Gallery - Decorative Arts
Victor Gallery - Decorative Arts

Yuliana Arles: Let's delve deeper into your exceptional collection. As you have already mentioned, your collection is quite diverse, encompassing antique Persian rugs, European tapestries, and fine art pieces. Which items hold the most significance for you, and why? Can you share a story about a particularly rare or unique piece that you have discovered during your years as a collector? What criteria or aspects do you consider when selecting pieces to include in your collection?

Victor Mashihi: As a family, we appreciate all of the items in our collection, as each piece has its own unique story and value. However, there are certainly pieces that hold special significance for us. For example, we have several Persian rugs that have been in our family for generations. These pieces hold sentimental value, as they have been passed down through the family and are a reminder of our heritage.

In terms of a particularly rare or unique piece, one that comes to mind is a Persian rug from the 17th century that we acquired many years ago. This rug is extremely rare, as there are very few examples of rugs from this time period in existence today. It is also unique in that it features an unusual design that is not commonly seen in Persian rugs from this era.

When selecting pieces for our collection, we consider several factors, including the quality of the materials used, the age and historical significance of the piece, the rarity of the item, and its overall aesthetic appeal. We also take into account the condition of the piece and whether any restoration work has been done. Ultimately, our goal is to acquire pieces that are not only beautiful, but also have cultural and historical significance.

17th Century Antique Persian Carpet
17th Century Antique Persian Carpet

Thank you for shedding light on this matter, but if I may, I would like to know a few more details. For example, in 2013, the most expensive in history, 17th-century Persian rug was sold for $33 million at a Sotheby's auction. Can you provide insight into the factors that determine the value of such a collectible, given your extensive experience in the field? While the value of works of art, such as paintings and sculptures, is primarily determined by the artist's fame in the art world, how does this apply to rugs and tapestries?

Victor Mashihi: Yes, sure. The value of a rug or tapestry is determined by several factors, including its age, rarity, condition, quality of materials, and design. In the case of the 17th-century Persian rug that sold for $33 million, its age, rarity, and exceptional condition, combined with its intricate design, contributed to its high value.

The artist's fame is not as significant in determining the value of rugs and tapestries, compared to paintings and sculptures. While, the reputation and historical significance of the weaving centers or workshops where they were produced can also play a role in their value. Additionally, the provenance or the documented history of ownership of the rug or tapestry can also impact its value.

Yuliana Arles: Thank you for sharing your expertise on Persian rugs. I suspect that many collectors will also be interested in the issue of tapestries. In recent years, you've expanded your collection to include tapestries by famous designers and artists from the middle of the last century. What was the impetus for this shift of emphasis, and what trends are you seeing in this field? Which designers are the most on trend in this area right now?

Victor Mashihi: The impetus for the shift towards mid-century tapestries was our desire to diversify our collection and explore new areas within the world of fine art and textiles. We have always been interested in the intersection of art and design, and mid-century tapestries provide an excellent example of this.

In terms of trends, we are seeing a renewed interest in mid-century modern design, which includes tapestries from this period. Designers such as Le Corbusier, Alexander Calder, and Joan Miró are particularly sought after right now. Additionally, there is a growing appreciation for tapestries created by women artists from this era, such as Magdalena Abakanowicz and Sheila Hicks.

Overall, we believe that mid-century tapestries are a fascinating area of collecting, offering collectors the opportunity to own unique and historically significant pieces of art and design.

Yuliana Arles: It's worth noting that due to your extensive experience and credentials in the arts, you are undisputed experts in your field. Therefore, I would like also to know what you think about the evolution of the fine art industry. What significant transformations have you seen in this sphere, and how do you think they have affected collectors and the art business as a whole?

Victor Mashihi: The fine art industry has undergone significant transformations over the years, particularly with the advent of new technologies and changing global markets. One of the most notable changes is the rise of online art sales and auctions, which have made it easier for collectors to access a broader range of artworks and for artists to reach a wider audience. Another transformation is the increasing emphasis on contemporary art, as younger generations seek out more modern and innovative works.

These changes have affected both collectors and the art business as a whole. Collectors now have more options for buying and selling artworks, and can access information and research more easily, which has led to a more informed and discerning buyer. On the business side, galleries and auction houses have had to adapt to the changing landscape and develop new strategies for marketing and selling artworks.

Overall, these transformations have made the art world more dynamic and accessible, but have also presented new challenges and opportunities for collectors and the industry as a whole.

Yuliana Arles: Okay, then, in the context of the global art market, what do you think is the unique value of your collection as well as the other services you provide to your clients and the entire art community?

Victor Mashihi: As a collector and dealer of rare and unique art pieces, our collection offers a unique perspective and insight into the history and evolution of various art forms. Our expertise in the field allows us to curate collections that span across different cultures and time periods, which is particularly valuable to collectors and art enthusiasts who appreciate diversity and rarity.

In addition to our collection, we also provide services such as appraisals, authentication, restoration, and consulting, which are critical components of the art market. Our commitment to transparency, authenticity, and ethical practices sets us apart and helps us build trust with our clients and the art community.

Overall, our collection and services contribute to the growth and development of the global art market by preserving and promoting the beauty and significance of art and culture.

Yuliana Arles: Could you explain the concept of 1stbid online auction, and how it differs from conventional auction houses?

Victor Mashihi: 1stbid is an online auction platform that specializes in fine art and decorative objects. It allows collectors and buyers to bid on curated lots from reputable dealers and auction houses around the world, with a focus on transparency, accessibility, and convenience. The main difference between 1stbid and traditional auction houses is that the former is entirely online and aims to democratize access to the art market by removing geographical and financial barriers.

Yuliana Arles: Following the theme of current trends, the fusion of art and technology is becoming more and more prominent. As a fine art curator and founder of the online auction house 1stbid, what do you think of the growing popularity of digital and NFT-based art? Do you consider including these types of art in your collection?

Victor Mashihi: The use of technology in the art world is indeed growing, and digital and NFT-based art is gaining popularity. These types of art offer new ways for artists to create and sell their work, and they provide collectors with unique investment opportunities. Some collectors and curators have started to incorporate digital and NFT-based art into their collections, and some traditional auction houses have started to hold sales of these types of art. It remains to be seen how this trend will develop and whether it will have a lasting impact on the art world.

Yuliana Arles: Allow me also to inquire, being an enthusiastic collector yourself, what do you think is the most rewarding aspect of collecting objets d'art? What advice would you give to aspiring collectors who are just beginning to identify their tastes and passions and eager to immerse themselves in the art world?

Victor Mashihi: As a collector, the most rewarding aspect for me is the pleasure of being surrounded by beautiful objects and the sense of accomplishment that comes with building a collection. I also enjoy the learning process that comes with acquiring knowledge about the objects I collect, including their history, provenance, and artistic value.

For aspiring collectors, my advice would be to start by developing a passion for a particular area of interest, whether it's a specific artist, era, or style. Then, immerse yourself in the art world by attending exhibitions, auctions, and art fairs, and by building relationships with dealers and other collectors. Don't be afraid to ask questions and seek advice from experts, and always do your research before making a purchase. Finally, collect what you love and what speaks to you personally, rather than focusing solely on investment potential or market trends.

Yuliana Arles: Coming to the end of our interview, can you share your plans for the future? What great exhibitions and worthwhile auctions can art lovers expect from you?

Our future plans involve expanding our reach to provide art lovers worldwide with the best selection of antique and decorative arts through our international online auction and galleries. Additionally, we aim to discover and represent the best artists from around the world to provide a diverse and engaging art collection. We are committed to continuously improving our offerings and providing a memorable experience for our valued customers.

Yuliana Arles: In closing our conversation, let me ask, looking far into the future, what legacy do you hope to leave behind you as a collector and a significant figure in the field of art?

Victor Mashihi: As an art connoisseur and an influential individual in the realm of art, I hope to leave behind a legacy of promoting the appreciation and preservation of cultural heritage through art. I hope that my passion for art inspires others to learn about and appreciate the beauty and history of diverse cultures, and that my efforts in collecting and preserving significant works of art contribute to the enrichment of future generations. Ultimately, I hope to be remembered as someone who made a positive impact on the world of art and helped to preserve the rich cultural heritage of humanity.


For connoisseurs intrigued by the alluring art pieces from Victor Mashihi's collection, we kindly request your correspondence with YV Art. Moreover, you are warmly encouraged to engage in the spirited auctions featured on the prestigious official website of the 1stbid auction house.

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