The Maktabi carpet trading business is established in Isfahan after 300 years of commercial and scholastic activities in the city, having moved there during the reign of Shah Abbas (1588-1629).
The Maktabi firm moves its international base of operations to Beirut, capital of the French mandate for Lebanon and Syria. The retail space is located on Rue Allenby in Beirut’s central district. Operations expand to Egypt and Persian Gulf countries.
With Lebanon rapidly becoming an intercontinental hub, Haj Hassan Maktabi expands into the Free Zone of Beirut Sea Port. 3 large warehouses cater to the company’s wholesale and retail businesses which grow into the region’s largest and now serve the Mediterranean basin.
The Shah of Iran visits Lebanon and pays a special visit to Haj Hassan Maktabi’s showrooms and presents him with the Royal Order of the Lion and The Sun.
Youssef Maktabi joins his father’s business and handles international operations. Carpets are exported to Europe and the Americas on a weekly basis. Youssef Sr starts building up the family collection of antique carpets to museum grade levels.
Attached is the invoice of the lavish carpets commissioned by the Lebanese Republic at the occasion of the inauguration of the Presidential Palace of Baabda. My grandfather, Haj Hassan Maktabi, selected the pieces one by one; thus starting a long tradition of supplying carpets to the state and its palaces. This tradition also extended to royal and republican palaces in nearby countries such as Jordan, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia over the last 50 years.
Retail shops are opened in Jeddah and Riyadh in Saudi Arabia. The bulk of the Kingdom’s royal palaces are furnished with Maktabi carpets.
Hadi Maktabi joins the family business as the 4th generation dealer in fine and rare carpets, specialising in antiques. He and his father Haj Youssef are regular participants in London’s Hali Fairs.
Hadi completes his PhD in Islamic Art and Carpet Studies at the University of Oxford, under the tutelage of Professors James Allan & Jon Thompson.
As an academic lecturer, Hadi presents talks on carpet history at ICOC Istanbul (2007), Stockholm (2011), the V&A Nowruz Lecture (2017), Dar Al Athar Kuwait (2017), Baku (2017) and numerous lectures in Beirut.
Dr. Hadi Maktabi starts teaching Art Appreciation & Art History at the American University of Beirut, an academic position he maintains until 2017.
Hadi becomes a consultant for various museums like the Victoria & Albert (London), the Imam Reza Shrine (Mashhad) and the Carpet Museum of Iran (Tehran), as well as Christie’s (London & New York).
A decade's worth of curatorial work in the archives and storehouses of the Imam Reza Shrine in Mashhad allow Hadi to assist the custodians in setting up their dedicated new Carpet Museum, with unparalleled collections going back to the time of Shah Abbas the Great (1587-1629). The most memorable moment was when Hadi discovered the last missing masterpiece signed and woven by the legendary Grand Master Mollah Mohammad Hasan Mohtasham!
Time to go online! Hadi is one of the first art dealers to establish a powerful presence on Facebook & Instagram.
The Hadi Maktabi Art Gallery for Rare Carpets & Antiques is formally opened in Beirut, catering to a global clientele.
Hadi teams up with Perso-Lebanese artist Niloufar Afnan to create a modern art installation entitled CECI N'EST PAS UN TAPIS. It is installed in the public facade in the Gallery's 20 meter long street window for the occasion of Beirut Design Week. A cocktail reception and lecture by both collaborators is held in May 2015.
Hadi is invited to participate in the prestigious Beirut Art Fair, where he showcases a number of avant garde modern Persian carpets by acclaimed contemporary artists.
The Grendizer Sci-Fi rugs serve as the backdrop to a live concert in the Gallery by famous Lebanese rock n roller Sammy Clark, as part of the annual exhibition and reception during Beirut Design Week.
Hadi receives the inaugural Carpet Star Award for Exemplary Antique Carpet Retailer at Domotex Trade Fair in Germany. The prize is presented by Carpet Collector Magazine.
The 40th Anniversary of the establishment of the Carpet Museum of Iran. For which occasion it was decided to exhibit and showcase (for the first time) 40 historical Safavid carpets from the 16th and 17th centuries. Hadi was invited to assist in this magnificent exhibition and was also asked by Hali Magazine, in his capacity as Associate Editor, to write up a full review.
The first international exhibition of Qajar Arts is inaugurated at the Louvre Museum under the title L’Empire Des Roses. Hadi is responsible for curating the 18th/19th century carpets and authoring the catalog chapter on the topic. The Louvre also borrow four Royal Qajar Carpets from Hadi’s personal collection for the show.
The Musee Quai Branly Jacques Chirac in Paris commissions Hadi to buy the legendary “Chicago World Exposition” carpet for them. Formerly in the collection of the Nizam of Hyderabad and Heinz Kettler, it is one of a remarkable pair that were woven as a testament to the strength of Perso-American relations in the 19th century.
After 2 decades of searching, the famous 12 sided pure silk Safavid carpet commissioned for the tomb of Shah Abbas II (died 1666) is found. It was last seen at the Great Exhibition of Persian Art at the Royal Academy (1931) and thereafter disappeared. As a student at Oxford and later as an independent scholar, Hadi led efforts in the holy city of Qom to locate it.
The Gallery hosts an awesome exhibition of Animal Carpets across 3 centuries, focusing on items with the Royal Persian Lion. Both the interior and exterior are decorated accordingly.
Another historical masterpiece shows up at our door! A lavish silk and silver thread signed Heriz circa 1810, entered our gallery. It had sold earlier for over $200,000 at Christie's. We were tasked with performing the needed repairs to its 200 year old pile, after which it went on to sell at Sotheby's.
The world's first exhibition on 19th century Mount Lebanon textiles is held at the Gallery in March/April 2019. Prayer panels, curtains, abayas, bedspreads, dowry gifts, political commissions, upholstery items ... all woven in Zouk Mikael and its surroundings in silk and often with gold thread. In parallel an exhibition of Tribal Treasures is held.
Coinciding with our dual exhibitions of Mount Lebanon Textiles and Antique Tribal Treasures, we welcomed for a week a group of international carpet connoisseurs, docents, dealers, collectors and experts from all over North America and Europe. They visited us in Lebanon, a fantastic expedition organized by our great friend Stefano Ionescu of Rome.
“The Persian Carpet: The Forgotten Years 1722-1872” is published by HPL in London. It is the first academic book on the topic and the first on Persian Carpets in almost 70 years. Book signings in London and Beirut take place. You can order one of the remaining copies through our office.
The launch of Hadi's book, The Persian Carpet: The Forgotten Years 1722-1872, is held at The Mall Galleries in central London. It is organized by HPL Publications. A number of antique carpet & Islamic Art academics, connoisseurs and dealers are in attendance.
Following London, another book signing is held at the Gallery in Beirut. This homecoming allows Lebanese carpet lovers the chance to visit the Royal Qajar Exhibition and get signed copies of Hadi's new book.
In parallel with the Beirut book signing, the Gallery hosts a remarkable exhibition of Royal Qajar carpets borrowed from Dr Hadi's private collection which he has assembled over more than 20 years. 18th and 19th century Royal carpets, most with signature inscriptions linking them to the Qajar dynasty, are placed on display for two weeks in October 2019.
Covid hits and the world goes into lockdown. Notwithstanding that, we turn our efforts online and continue to serve our worldwide network of clients and collectors. Every week a number of shipments are sent out all over the world as we perfect the skill of transparency, honesty and reliability. Feel free to call, FaceTime, WhatsApp or email us! Alternatively you can interact with us live on Instagram and Facebook... or just step into our VR Gallery 👊
The shift online meant that online webinars replaced live lecturing. The plus side was that we were able to meet and talk to hundreds of people far, far away whom we would not have had the pleasure to meet otherwise. Hadi gave various academic talks to a number of museum and collector societies the world over, such as the Hajji Baba Club, the New England Rug Society, the Chester Beatty Library, the Textile Museum, University of Oxford, and various carpet associations across the United States.
Aug 4, 18:07. The largest peacetime nuclear explosion in human history erupts in the port of Beirut. Many lives were lost and over 50,000 homes damaged. The Gallery suffers extensive physical damage but thankfully nobody got hurt. We regroup and decide to fight on. We launch a massive fundraiser that brings together a wide range of clients all over the world, the proceeds of which were donated to the Lebanese Red Cross to aid those who lost their homes. Thank you everyone.
Another first! Hadi launches an interactive VR showroom whereby our clients--no matter where in the world they are, in the comfort of their armchairs--can enter our Gallery, walk around, have a private tour and interact with our antique. masterpieces face to face. Please check it out at bit.ly/HadiMaktabi
Another year, another academic publication. MASTERS OF PERSIA, published in Hali journal for carpet & textile studies, explores the history of professional urban workshops in Persia from the 14th to the 20th centuries. It relies on a number of inscribed carpets signed by some of the most exclusive artists to have worked in this field. Illustrious names such as Amoghly, Mohtasham, Seirafian, Dabir, Safazadeh, Abdol Samad and many more!
The Nickel Art Gallery, in the University of Calgary (Canada), acquires 7 fantastic antique rugs from Hadi's private collection. The focus was on carpets as sociological objects in premodern communities for which reason most of the chosen items were vagireh samplers.
Our silk wefted Kashkuli depicting the archaeological ruins of Persepolis is acquired by the Republic of France, via the Musee Quai Branly - Jacques Chirac. It marks the 12th historical masterpiece we sell them. It is also one of three known pieces with these characteristics, making it another best of type museum quality artwork.