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Early Slab Walnut Coffee Table George Nakashima



A stunning piece of furniture art by George Nakashima (1905-1990) from his early studio years circa 1958. It features a selected American walnut slab with amazing characters, finely crafted to showcase the design philosophy of George Nakashima: Let the wood do the talk. The slab exhibits two free natural contour edges, several fissures on one end, and groups of blackened orifices on the other. It might have been salvaged from a forest fire and the beauty was enhanced in the artist's hands. Dramatic grains and color variations across the top surface. A slab and two wedged legs add an elegant balance to this piece. A rosewood butterfly was placed underneath the table discreetly to stabilize one of the wood fissures. One of the most beautiful early pieces we have ever seen. Custom made for a client in 1958, it was signed both with the name of the George Nakashima and the last name of the client. It was professionally refinished by Nakashima Studio therefore in fine condition. It comes with a copy of the original order card as well as a letter certifies the refinish process and authentication the piece as well.


  • Creator
  • Dimensions
    Height: 13 in. (33.02 cm)Width: 59.5 in. (151.13 cm)Depth: 27.5 in. (69.85 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. Refinished by George Nakashima Studio so expect excellent vintage condition.
  • Seller Location
    Atlanta, GA
  • Reference Number
    1stDibs: LU945015383122

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 George Nakashima (Artist)

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.

About the Seller
5 / 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
221 sales on 1stDibs
Typical response time: <1 hour
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