1stdibs

George Nakashima Furniture

George Nakashima (USA, 1905-1990)

A master woodworker and M.I.T.-trained architect, George Nakashima was the leading light of the American Studio furniture movement. Along with Wharton Esherick, Sam Maloof, and Wendell Castle, Nakashima was an artisan who disdained industrial methods and materials in favor of a personal, craft-based approach to the design. What sets Nakashima apart is the poetic style of his work, his reverence for wood and the belief that his furniture could evince — as he put it in the title of his 1981 memoir — “The Soul of a Tree.”

     Born in Spokane, Washington, to Japanese immigrants, Nakashima traveled widely after college, working and studying in Paris, Japan and India, and at every stop he absorbed both modernist and traditional design influences. The turning point in Nakashima’s career development came in the United States in 1942, when he was placed in an internment camp for Asian-Americans in Idaho. There, Nakashima met a master woodcarver who tutored him in Japanese crafting techniques. A former employer won Nakashima’s release and brought him to bucolic New Hope, Pennsylvania, where Nakashima set up a studio and worked for the rest of his life.

     Nakashima’s singular aesthetic is best captured in his custom-made tables and benches — pieces that show off the grain, burls and whorls in a plank of wood. He left the “free edge,” or natural contour, of the slab un-planed, and reinforced fissures in the wood with “butterfly” joints. Almost all Nakashima seating pieces have smooth, milled edges. Nakashima also contracted with large-scale manufacturers to produce carefully supervised editions of his designs. Knoll has offered his “Straight Chair” — a modern take on the spindle-backed Windsor chair — since 1946; the now-defunct firm Widdicomb-Mueller issued the Shaker-inspired “Origins” collection in the 1950s.

     Nelson Rockefeller in 1973 gave Nakashima his single largest commission: a 200-piece suite for his suburban New York estate. Today, Nakashima furniture is collected by both the staid and the fashionable: his work sits in the collections of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Smithsonian Institution, as well as in the homes of Stephen Spielberg, Brad Pitt, Diane von Furstenberg and the late Steve Jobs.

Refine Your Search Applied Filters
Sort By
George Nakashima Conoid Dining Table
Johnson Trading Gallery
George Nakashima, Black Walnut Desk, USA, 1957
Todd Merrill 20th Century
Large Walnut Mirror by George NakashimaOn Hold
LUNA
George Nakashima Bookcases
Galere
George Nakashima Double Pedestal Desk
Galere
George Nakashima Rocking Chair
Modern Drama
20th Century George Nakashima Dining Table
Marymont Plantation Antiques
Grass Seat Stool by George NakashimaOn Hold
Collage 20th Century Classics
George Nakashima Cabinet
LUNA
Coffee Table by George Nakashima for Widdicomb
Collage 20th Century Classics
Amazing Live Edge Table by George Nakashima
WYETH
Small Japanese Style Room Divider by Teruo Hara
LUNA
Pair of Nightstands by George Nakashima
Sputnik Modern
Wall-Mounted Cabinet by George Nakashima
Sputnik Modern
George Nakashima Conoid Bench
Galere
George Nakashima Dresser for Widdicomb
The Swanky Abode
Organic Walnut Cocktail Table
Carling Nichols
12-Drawer Origins Chest by George Nakashima
Collage 20th Century Classics
Grand Scale Book Display in the Manner of Nakashima
Off The Wall Antiques
George Nakashima Walnut Mira Stool
Black & Gold
Walnut Sideboard with Top Shelf by George Nakashima
Tishu Gallery
Minguren I Coffee Table by George Nakashima
Wright Now
Sliding Door Cabinet by George Nakashima
Sputnik Modern
George Nakashima Origins 12-Drawer Chest
Porch Modern
Large-Scale Walnut Chest by George Nakashima
ABC Modern
George Nakashima Table Lamp, 20th Century
Galerie XX
George Nakashima Wall Mirror, 1950s
Galerie XX
Walnut Mirror by George Nakashima for Widdicomb
ABC Modern
George Nakashima Free Edge Two-Tier Table
Galerie XX
George Nakashima Wall Mirror
Galerie XX
Mid Century Modern Day Bed Sofa Frame
Soho Treasures
Live Edge Coffee Table after George Nakashima
Galerie Sommerlath
George Nakashima Frenchman's Cove Table
Lynn Goode Vintage
Monumental Walnut Bookcase by George Nakashima
Peter Roberts Antiques
George Nakashima Slab Wall Shelf
Sputnik Modern
Floor Cabinet by George Nakashima
Peter Roberts Antiques
Teak and Mahogany Screen or Room Divider
Archive 20th Century
Stool by George Nakashima
LUNA
George Nakashima Cherry Nighstands
Galerie XX
George Nakashima Floor Screen
Galerie XX
George Nakashima Grass Seat Stool
Galerie XX
George Nakashima Occasional Table
Galerie XX
George Nakashima Small Tri-Leg Table
Galerie XX
George Nakashima "Conoid" Chair
Galerie XX
George Nakashima Free Edge Platform Bed
Galerie XX
George Nakashima Ming One Coffee Table
Galerie XX
George Nakashima Platform Bed with Free Edge Headboard
Galerie XX
George Nakashima Queen Size Slat Back Bed
Galerie XX
George Nakashima Cherry "Long Chair"
Galerie XX
George Nakashima "Mira" Chairs-Set of 6
Galerie XX
George Nakashima Custom Free Edge Credenza
Galerie XX
George Nakashima "Minguren" Free Edge Desk
Galerie XX
Rare George Nakashima Slat Back Daybed in Silk
Galerie XX