George Nakashima - Design & Design Art New York Thursday, December 13, 2007 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    John Wilcox, Minnesota; Mike Kranz, Wisconsin

  • Literature

    Derek E. Ostergard, George Nakashima, Full Circle, exh. cat., American Craft Museum, New York, 1989, p. 122 for a similar example; Mira Nakashima, Nature, Form, & Spirit: The Life and Legacy of George Nakashima, New York, 2003, p. 100 for a similar example

  • Artist Biography

    George Nakashima

    American • 1905 - 1990

    Working out of his compound in rural New Hope, Pennsylvania, George Nakashima produced some of the most original and influential furniture designs of the post-war era. Nakashima aimed to give trees a second life, choosing solid wood over veneers and designing his furniture to highlight the inherent beauty of the wood, such as the form and grain. To this end, his tables often feature freeform edges, natural fissures and knot holes. Nakashima was an MIT-trained architect and traveled widely in his youth, gaining exposure to modernist design the world over.

    The signature style he developed was the distillation of extraordinary, diverse experiences, which led to the establishment of his furniture-making business in 1946. In particular, his practice of Integral Yoga, which he studied while working under the architect Antonin Raymond on the construction of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry, India, had a lasting impact on his philosophy as a designer.

    After returning to the U.S. in 1940, Nakashima's family was interned in an American concentration camp, a horrible ordeal that nevertheless introduced him to traditional Japanese joinery by way of a Nisei woodworker he met in the camp. He incorporated these techniques and also drew on American vernacular forms, such as the Windsor chair. These diverse influences have resulted in immense crossover appeal in the world of twentieth-century design collecting.

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Free-edge double pedestal desk

ca. 1960
Walnut, metal.
28 3/4 x 65 1/2 x 28 1/4 in. (73 x 166.4 x 71.8 cm)
Underside of desk top and underside of one base signed in black marker “Wilcox."

$50,000 - 70,000 

Sold for $91,000

Design & Design Art

13 Dec 2007, 2pm
New York