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Sam Maloof Furniture

Sam Maloof (United States, 1916–2009)

Along with George Nakashima and Wendell Castle, the woodworker Sam Maloof was a guiding spirit of the American Studio furniture movement — a postwar revival of craftsmanship fueled by a reverence for skilled labor and a disdain for mass-produced furnishings composed of plastic and other synthetic materials. Maloof brought a modern interpretation to traditional seating and cabinetry forms, and in doing so he created some of the most beautiful and artfully made furniture seen in the country since the 19th-century heyday of the Shakers.


Maloof was born in then-rural Chino, California, east of Los Angeles. His parents were immigrants from Lebanon, then still part of the Ottoman Empire. Maloof’s father sold fruits and vegetables from a cart, and his mother sold her handmade lace and embroidery. It was through her, Maloof would later say, that he found a love of fine craftsmanship. Maloof tinkered with woodcarving as a boy, making things such as dollhouse furniture, but in high school he became known for his calligraphy and hand-lettered posters and signs. Into his 30s, Maloof made a modest living as a graphic artist. But in 1948, he and his newlywed bride, Alfreda Ward, a crafts teacher, moved into a new house. To save money, Maloof made their furniture from scrap oak planks, and he so clearly loved the work that his wife persuaded him to make woodworking his profession. Within two years, Maloof’s furniture was getting attention in the press, and in 1951 he received his first significant commission when the industrial designer Henry Dreyfuss hired him to make chairs and cabinets for a new office in Pasadena. Entirely self-taught, Maloof was an intuitive designer, with a natural sense of scale and proportion. He never sketched plans for a piece in advance; on chairs, he said he worked from the legs up. Maloof used no metal hardware in his furniture; rather than bolts or screws, his pieces derive their strength and integrity solely from Maloof’s painstaking joinery.


Though he made all types of furniture, Maloof is best known for his rocking chairs. His are instantly recognizable by their long glides and attenuated, gently curved spindled backrests. Maloof lavished long hours shaping and sanding his chairs to conform to the human body, then oiling and rubbing the wood to give it a silky tactility. His work is scarce, if not rare: At his peak of productivity in the 1970s, Maloof (by then, working with three assistants) made an estimated 300 pieces a year. His tables and smaller cabinets are priced at around $15,000; because they are his signature forms, rocking chairs made of walnut bring about twice that, more in exotic woods such as tiger maple and rosewood. As you will see on these pages, Sam Maloof designs are exemplary objects of both beauty and utility — warm, welcoming and rich in honest character.


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Large Sam Maloof Ottoman
By Sam Maloof
Located in Pawtucket, RI
Large and finely detailed walnut ottoman by noted California woodworker Sam Maloof. Signed and executed in the 1960s. In very good condition and recently reupholstered.
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Sam Maloof Furniture

Materials

Walnut

Sam Maloof Spider Leg Drop-Leaf Table
By Sam Maloof
Located in Los Angeles, CA
Sam Maloof spider leg drop-leaf table. A stellar example of this brilliant woodworkers Craft.
Category

20th Century American Sam Maloof Furniture

Materials

Walnut

Sam Maloof Wall Mounted Console, circa 1960
By Sam Maloof
Located in Costa Mesa, CA
Sam Maloof wall mounted console / cabinet, circa 1960. This piece has been expertly restored.
Category

20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Sam Maloof Furniture

Materials

Walnut

Sam Maloof Black Walnut Spindle Back King Headboard
By Sam Maloof
Located in San Antonio, TX
Sam Maloof is America's most renowned contemporary furniture designer and woodworker. This Sam Maloof black walnut spindle back king headboard is in overall good condition and wear ...
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Sam Maloof Furniture

Materials

Walnut

Sam Maloof Walnut Rocking Chair
By Sam Maloof
Located in Los Angeles, CA
One walnut rocking chair by Sam Maloof, 1960s. Signed Maloof Calif.
Category

Mid-20th Century American Sam Maloof Furniture

Materials

Walnut

Pair of Sam Maloof Armchairs
By Sam Maloof
Located in Los Angeles, CA
Pair of Sam Maloof hide upholstered armchairs.
Category

1950s American Vintage Sam Maloof Furniture

Sam Maloof Coffee Table
By Sam Maloof
Located in Chicago, IL
Rare Maloof cocktail table, features floating top with splayed legs.      
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Sam Maloof Furniture

Materials

Ash

Rare Early Rosewood Rocking Chair by Sam Maloof
By Sam Maloof
Located in Atlanta, GA
An early model of rocking chair designed and made by Sam Maloof (1916-2009), one of the most esteemed American woodworker who instilled a timeless fluid aesthetic into American moder...
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Sam Maloof Furniture

Materials

Leather, Rosewood

Pair of Sam Maloof Horn Back Chairs
By Sam Maloof
Located in Los Angeles, CA
Pair of Sam Maloof horn back chairs with carved walnut and velvet upholstery 1962, USA
Category

1960s American Vintage Sam Maloof Furniture

Materials

Velvet, Walnut

Rare Sam Maloof Hanging Cabinet
By Sam Maloof
Located in West Palm Beach, FL
A rare Walnut Hanging Cabinet exhibiting all of the details of Sam Maloofs' craft. Originally designed to hold silver. provenance:Irving Stone
Category

20th Century American Sam Maloof Furniture

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