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Jan David Wintz

Jan David Winitz is founder and president of Claremont Rug Company, an art gallery which specializes in connoisseur-level to museum-caliber 19th century Oriental rugs. He is the author of The Guide to Purchasing an Oriental Rug. In the collecting world, he is acknowledged as having elevated the status of rugs from the Second Golden Age of Persian Weaving (ca 1800 to ca 1910) from a decorative craft to an art, recognized for their masterful color and design, cultural significance, symbolism and importance as an influencer of other art forms. Inspired by a family member’s collection of Near Eastern rugs, he acquired his first antique carpet while still in high school. Later, during the three years he spent as a high-school English teacher, he sold rugs privately. Then in 1980, at the age of 25, he gave up teaching to found Claremont Rug Company with his wife, Christine Hunt Winitz, in a small storefront building in Oakland. Their goal was to present antique carpets to the public as, “works of art comparable to those usually displayed on the wall.” An initial inventory of 40 pieces has grown to more than 3500 rugs (as of August 2017), the majority having been woven in areas of Persia and the Caucasus Mountains. The Claremont inventory has been obtained primarily from private family collections in Europe, North and South America. These rugs have been “off-the-market” for as many as five generations and have provenance that can be traced to the original purchases in the Near East. Winitz is credited with raising the critical opinion about vintage Oriental carpets from that of a craft to a collectible art form, investment and tangible asset. His clients include Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, motion picture executives, rock music stars and classical musicians, Nobel Prize winners and nearly 75 Forbes 400 List billionaires who reside on five continents. In 2009, The Robb Report named Claremont as the “Best of the Best,” in its Antiques category. It was the first and only time that a rug purveyor has been selected for the accolade. In 2106, Robb offered a personally selected rug “package,” valued at $800,000, from Claremont in its Ultimate Gift Guide edition
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