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.

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George Nakashima for Widdicomb Origins Coffee Table with Storage Model 272

By George Nakashima, Widdicomb Furniture Co.
George Nakashima for Widdicomb Origins Coffee Tabl...
George Nakashima, Widdicomb Furniture Co.
Vintage 1960s American Mid-Century Modern Coffee and Cocktail Tables
Walnut
This mid-century modern coffee table by George Nakashima for Widdicomb was designed in 1961 for the Origins Line. Featuring two drawers, storage compartment with lid on top and open sto...
George Nakashima Coffee Table

By George Nakashima
George Nakashima Coffee Table
George Nakashima
Vintage 1960s American Coffee and Cocktail Tables
Wood
George Nakashima, 1965. American black walnut, double free edge solid top with highly figured grain. Signed with original clients name with authenticity document from Nakashima Wo...
George Nakashima, Coffee Table/Bench

By George Nakashima
George Nakashima, Coffee Table/Bench
George Nakashima
Vintage 1970s American Coffee and Cocktail Tables
Walnut
George Nakashima, coffee table/bench in American black walnut. Signed: George Nakashima, 1977.
George and Mira Nakashima English Oak, Walnut and Hickory Minguren Coffee Table
George and Mira Nakashima English Oak, Walnut and ...
George Nakashima
Vintage 1980s American Coffee and Cocktail Tables
Hickory, Oak, Walnut
A wonderful collaboration from father and daughter George and Mira Nakashima. This table was custom-made and acquired from it's original owner.
Origins Coffee Table with Storage Model 272 by George Nakashima for Widdicomb

By George Nakashima, Widdicomb Furniture Co.
Origins Coffee Table with Storage Model 272 by Geo...
George Nakashima, Widdicomb Furniture Co.
Mid-20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Coffee and Cocktail Tables
Walnut
This coffee table by George Nakashima for Widdicomb was designed in 1961 for the Origins Line. Featuring two drawers, storage compartment with lid on top, and open storage in the back. ...
George Nakashima Walnut Amoeba Table

By George Nakashima
George Nakashima Walnut Amoeba Table
George Nakashima
Mid-20th Century American Modern Coffee and Cocktail Tables
Wonderful walnut Amoeba table by renowned New Hope furniture maker George Nakashima. Figured free form top with turned legs.
George Nakashima Coffee/Side Table, 1960s

By George Nakashima
George Nakashima Coffee/Side Table, 1960s
George Nakashima
Vintage 1960s American Organic Modern Coffee and Cocktail Tables
A magnificent, George Nakashima walnut table. The beautifully grained and fissured top features signature live edge and butterfly key joinery, all resting upon four turned, tapered leg...
Rare George Nakashima Coffee Table in Indian Laurel, 1969

By George Nakashima
Rare George Nakashima Coffee Table in Indian Laure...
George Nakashima
Vintage 1960s American Coffee and Cocktail Tables
Four board Laurel round coffee table by George Nakashima with three "Butterflies" on top. Original correspondence , July, 31 1969 from Mr. Nakashima describing the Laurel as a "very fin...
George Nakashima Coffee Table for Widdicomb

By George Nakashima
George Nakashima Coffee Table for Widdicomb
George Nakashima
Vintage 1950s American Mid-Century Modern Coffee and Cocktail Tables
Rosewood
George Nakashima coffee table for Widdicomb. This is the larger version of this table. Table consists of both carpathian elm and rosewood. Signed and dated.
George Nakashima Coffee Table for Widdicomb

By George Nakashima
George Nakashima Coffee Table for Widdicomb
George Nakashima
Vintage 1960s American Mid-Century Modern Coffee and Cocktail Tables
Rosewood
George Nakashima coffee table for Widdicomb. This is the larger version of this table. Table consists of both carpathian elm and rosewood. The rich grains and color contrast between the...
George Nakashima Walnut Coffee Table, 1980

By George Nakashima
George Nakashima Walnut Coffee Table, 1980
George Nakashima
Vintage 1980s Coffee and Cocktail Tables
A walnut coffee table/bench by George Nakashima, 1980. Sold with copy of original receipt.
George Nakashima Coffee Table Model 272 Laurel and Walnut Widdicomb, 1961

By George Nakashima, Widdicomb Furniture Co.
George Nakashima Coffee Table Model 272 Laurel and...
George Nakashima, Widdicomb Furniture Co.
Vintage 1960s American Mid-Century Modern Coffee and Cocktail Tables
George Nakashima flip-top coffee table model 272 manufactured by Widdicomb in 1961. The underside of the drawer is stenciled Sundra 2/ 61 272. The coffee table is in excellent condition...
George Nakashima Minguren Cocktail Table

By George Nakashima
George Nakashima Minguren Cocktail Table
George Nakashima
20th Century Coffee and Cocktail Tables
George Nakashima Minguren cocktail table. A stunning example. Full provenance.
Walnut Butterfly Base Coffee Table by George Nakashima

By George Nakashima
Walnut Butterfly Base Coffee Table by George Nakas...
George Nakashima
Mid-20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Coffee and Cocktail Tables
Walnut
Free edge walnut top with very complex graining supported by canted walnut legs and butterfly base.
George Nakashima English Walnut Coffee Table, 1961

By George Nakashima
George Nakashima English Walnut Coffee Table, 1961...
George Nakashima
Vintage 1960s American Mid-Century Modern Coffee and Cocktail Tables
Large English Walnut Nakashima coffee table with free-edge top and knots and sapwood to both top and base. Table with complete provenance.
Large Coffee Table by George Nakashima

By George Nakashima
Large Coffee Table by George Nakashima
George Nakashima
Vintage 1950s Coffee and Cocktail Tables
A large coffee table made of solid rosewood and carpathian elm. Designed by George Nakashima for Widdicomb.
George Nakashima Coffee Table

By George Nakashima
George Nakashima Coffee Table
George Nakashima
Vintage 1970s American American Craftsman Coffee and Cocktail Tables
Walnut
A free edge coffee table by renown master woodworker George Nakashima. The freeform black walnut surface with two knotted top openings sits elegantly on a Minguren base.
George Nakashia designe for Widdicomb Coffee Table.

By George Nakashima, Widdicomb Furniture Co.
George Nakashia designe for Widdicomb Coffee Table...
George Nakashima, Widdicomb Furniture Co.
Vintage 1950s American Mid-Century Modern Coffee and Cocktail Tables
Walnut
George Nakashima walnut coffee table manufactured by Widdicomb. Excellent original condition.
Walnut Coffee Table by George Nakashima

By George Nakashima
Walnut Coffee Table by George Nakashima
George Nakashima
20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Coffee and Cocktail Tables
Walnut
A thick Walnut slab having a beautiful and complex grain pattern supported by four angled Walnut legs make this small scale table a great example of the form.
A Minguren II Coffee Table by George Nakashima

By George Nakashima
A Minguren II Coffee Table by George Nakashima
George Nakashima
20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Coffee and Cocktail Tables
A Beautiful and rare form done in a very rare Persian Walnut. Having one of the most defined and interesting tops that I've seen to date. Top supported by upright slab and floor support...
Walnut Coffee Table by George Nakashima

By George Nakashima
Walnut Coffee Table by George Nakashima
George Nakashima
20th Century American Coffee and Cocktail Tables
A large and highly figured and thick free edge Walnut slab top having several different types of grain patterns. Burling to edges of top as well. Walnut slab and leg configuration suppo...
A Black Walnut Coffee Table by George Nakashima

By George Nakashima
A Black Walnut Coffee Table by George Nakashima
George Nakashima
20th Century American Coffee and Cocktail Tables
This is a beautiful Slab of Black Walnut having a swirling marble grain pattern.Great free edge on all sides with a very interesting corner edge of the top. Large slab upright and two a...
Walnut  Bench by George Nakashima

By George Nakashima
Walnut Bench by George Nakashima
George Nakashima
20th Century American Coffee and Cocktail Tables
A very rare and wonderful tongue and groove bench having a thru tenon board running the length of the bench with exposed tenon. There has only been one other example of this form to hav...