A Certain Je Ne Sais Quoi
The rugs of Jean Bartel
Two years ago, while perusing photos of a rug show, I was captivated by two images. One of them was impressive for its scale and ambition; the other was incredibly vivid. There was something else about them, though. I didn’t know what. I still don’t know what, exactly. We may point to a white outline here, a clever use of color there, complexity in some of these rugs, and striking simplicity in others. Still, there’s something there that defies definition. Commercial patterns, adaptations, or her own original designs: no matter what she hooks, a Jean Bartel rug stands out in a crowd. She endows each of her creations with a certain je ne sais quoi.