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American Rugs & Carpets

American rugs are diverse in origin, material, technique, and design. Some of the most well-known examples are hooked rugs and the whimsical designs of 1960s rugs.

American hooked rugs are indigenous to the Northeast. Prior to the mid-1800s, imported carpets were a luxury of the wealthy class. With the opening of trade with other countries, new materials became available, including the burlap sacking used to ship trade goods from the West Indies. The wide weave of the burlap allowed for easy manipulation of textiles using strips of fabric and a framework of boards. Rug hooking allowed the lower economic classes to create artistic floor coverings at little cost, and rug hookers incorporated their own flair into the pieces, ensuring that each rug was an original. Hooked rugs began to be hung as wall art in the 1930s, when there was a resurgence of interest in the artform.

Beginning in the mid-1900s, American rug designs embraced a fun and modern style that followed the art movements of the time. Pop artist Robert Indiana scavenged abandoned warehouses in New York for material for his sculptures. After his discovery of brass stencils, Indiana’s works came to life with bright colors and short, powerful words. Known by the title “Classic Love”, Indiana’s famous Love Rug was created for a Christmas card for the New York Museum of Modern Art in 1964.


Quick Facts

  • Grenfell Industries was started in Canada in 1893 as a way for poor fishing families to make extra money by selling hooked rugs to tourists, but today these designs are coveted by collectors
  • The earliest American rugs were made for tables and beds, rather than the floor
  • A Robert Indiana original “Classic Love” rug sold for $1,794 at Bonhams auction house in 2010

Recommended Items at Auction

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KARASTAN KIRMAN Vintage Fringed Wool Runner
Mar 20, 10:00 AM EDT
KARASTAN KIRMAN Vintage Fringed Wool Runner
by The Benefit Shop Foundation Inc.
Est: $40- $100
$603 Bids
Karastan "Kirman" Rug, 25" L x 18" W
Mar 12, 11:00 AM EDT
Karastan "Kirman" Rug, 25" L x 18" W
by Auctions at Showplace
Est: $100- $200
$500 Bids
EDWARD FIELDS CARPET VINTAGE ROOM SIZE RUG
Mar 13, 3:00 PM EDT
EDWARD FIELDS CARPET VINTAGE ROOM SIZE RUG
by Austin York LLC
Est: $200- $400
$1000 Bids
Edward Field Carpet
Mar 17, 12:00 PM EDT
Edward Field Carpet
by Main Auction Galleries
Est: $1,000- $1,500
$5000 Bids
American Blue Pile Carpet, 15' 6" x 11' 10"
Apr 16, 11:00 AM EDT
American Blue Pile Carpet, 15' 6" x 11' 10"
by Auctions at Showplace
Est: $200- $400
$1000 Bids
ROBERT INDIANA (1928 NEW CASTLE, IN - 2018 VINALHAVEN, ME) (AFTER), 2 CARPETS 'CLASSIC LOVE', 2007
Mar 20, 5:00 PM CET
ROBERT INDIANA (1928 NEW CASTLE, IN - 2018 VINALHAVEN, ME) (AFTER), 2 CARPETS 'CLASSIC LOVE', 2007
by Quittenbaum Kunstauktionen GmbH
Est: €900- €1,500
€8000 Bids
Robert Indiana (New Castle, Indiana 1928 - 2018 Vinalhaven, Maine)
Mar 04, 7:00 PM CET
Robert Indiana (New Castle, Indiana 1928 - 2018 Vinalhaven, Maine)
by Medusa Auctioneers
Est: €300- €500
€3000 Bids
TWO ROOM SIZED HOOKED RUGS.
Mar 09, 11:00 AM EST
TWO ROOM SIZED HOOKED RUGS.
by Amelia Jeffers
Est: $100- $200
$500 Bids
WALDOBORO HOOKED RUG.
Mar 09, 11:00 AM EST
WALDOBORO HOOKED RUG.
by Amelia Jeffers
Est: $100- $200
$500 Bids
ROBERT INDIANA (1928 NEW CASTLE, IN - 2018 VINALHAVEN, ME) (AFTER), 2 CARPETS 'LIEBE LOVE', 2005
Mar 20, 5:00 PM CET
ROBERT INDIANA (1928 NEW CASTLE, IN - 2018 VINALHAVEN, ME) (AFTER), 2 CARPETS 'LIEBE LOVE', 2005
by Quittenbaum Kunstauktionen GmbH
Est: €400- €600
€3500 Bids
PICTORIAL HOOKED RUG WITH AUTOMOBILE.
Mar 09, 11:00 AM EST
PICTORIAL HOOKED RUG WITH AUTOMOBILE.
by Amelia Jeffers
Est: $100- $200
$500 Bids
Robert Indiana (New Castle, Indiana 1928 - 2018 Vinalhaven, Maine), Love Rug
Mar 04, 7:00 PM CET
Robert Indiana (New Castle, Indiana 1928 - 2018 Vinalhaven, Maine), Love Rug
by Medusa Auctioneers
Est: €250- €350
€2400 Bids
DODO BIRD HOOKED RUG.
Mar 09, 11:00 AM EST
DODO BIRD HOOKED RUG.
by Amelia Jeffers
Est: $150- $300
$700 Bids
PICTORIAL AIRPLANE HOOKED RUG.
Mar 09, 11:00 AM EST
PICTORIAL AIRPLANE HOOKED RUG.
by Amelia Jeffers
Est: $150- $300
$700 Bids
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CLAIRE MURRAY "CIRCLES REVISITED" HOOKED RUG Contemporary 60" x 84".
Mar 14, 9:30 AM EDT
CLAIRE MURRAY "CIRCLES REVISITED" HOOKED RUG Contemporary 60" x 84".
by Eldred's
Est: $250- $350
$1250 Bids
Edward Fields Contemporary Rug
Mar 21, 11:00 AM EDT
Edward Fields Contemporary Rug
by Willow Auction House
Est: $100- $200
$500 Bids

Sellers Who Sell American Rugs & Carpets


Amelia Jeffers

Amelia Jeffers

Eldred's

Eldred's

Quittenbaum Kunstauktionen GmbH

Quittenbaum Kunstauktionen GmbH

Auctions at Showplace

Auctions at Showplace