NEW YORKGeorge Nakashima’s signature designs are characterised by the expressive figuration of wood grain and the natural burl, unfinished edges and knots of the slabs that he used.


George Nakashima, October 1980. © Nathan Benn/Corbis.

Nakashima (1910–1990), the master of the American Studio Craft movement, wanted his tables, benches and chairs to be treated as everyday functional objects, not as if they were precious possessions. “I use only solid wood,” he wrote. “Why? Because for me solid wood is honest and real.”


George Nakashima, Bench, circa 1960. Estimate $20,000–30,000.

At his New Hope, Pennsylvania studio, “the woodpile outside was his inspiration,” says his daughter Mira Nakashima, who oversees her father’s studio and is a designer in her own right. Although he was faithful to natural forms, Nakashima did not simply cut down trees; there is a technical virtuosity and refinement evident in pieces such as his “Conoid” chairs and “Round Cluster” dining table.



George Nakashima, Four "Conoid" Chairs, circa 1967, estimate $20,000–30,000 and "Round Cluster" Dining Table, circa 1967, estimate $25,000–35,000.

Works by George Nakashima and more will be offered at Sotheby's New York in the Important 20th Century Design sale on 11 June.

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