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Rare Early Rosewood Rocking Chair by Sam Maloof



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 modern design. Rarely constructed in rosewood and upholstered in black leather, this rocking chair was made around 1963. It is an early model that pioneered his later iconic rocking chairs that are sought after by collectors worldwide. This chair is from the collection of John Maloof, the grandson of Sam Maloof. According to John, this chair was originally made for John F. Kennedy, but after the president's untimely passing, Sam gave it to his daughter, Marilouise, who then passed it down to John. The chair is stamped mark designed made MALOOF California. Literature: A comparable early example is illustrated on page 118 in the book "The Furniture of Sam Maloof" by Jeremy Adamson, W.W. Norton & Company, New York, 2001.


  • Creator
    Sam Maloof (Maker)
  • Dimensions
    Height: 45.75 in. (116.21 cm)Width: 25.5 in. (64.77 cm)Depth: 35 in. (88.9 cm)
  • Style
    Mid-Century Modern (Of the Period)
  • Materials and Techniques
  • Place of Origin
  • Period
  • Date of Manufacture
  • Condition
    Wear consistent with age and use. Fine vintage condition with warm patina. Expected age wear found in very carefully used pieces: a few light surface scratches mostly along the side and base, 1-2 minor aging lines in the natural wood. A stellar example of Maloof's early work.
  • Seller Location
    Atlanta, GA
  • Reference Number
    1stDibs: LU90454640053

Shipping & Returns

  • Shipping
    Rates vary by destination and complexity. We recommend this shipping type based on item size, type and fragility.
    Ships From: Atlanta, GA
  • Return Policy

    A return for this item may be initiated within 2 days of delivery.

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About the Maker

Sam Maloof

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.
About the Seller
4.9 / 5
Located in Atlanta, GA
Platinum Seller
These expertly vetted sellers are 1stDibs' most experienced sellers and are rated highest by our customers.
Established in 2006
1stDibs seller since 2010
275 sales on 1stDibs
Typical response time: <1 hour
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