Dimensions - Frame: 16.5 in X 12.75 in - Art: 8 in X 10.5 in
Artist - George Nakashima
Date - 1971
Provenance - Palm Springs Auction Gallery
George Nakashima was a prominent 20th century American furniture designer and craftsman. Nakashima’s furniture is known for its distinctive style characterized by his technical aptitude and love of natural forms. The Astro Motel is furnished with several of Nakashima’s pieces and countless other works influenced by his design sensibility.
After earning an M.A. in architecture from M.I.T. in 1931, Nakashima sold his car for a “round-the-world” steamship ticket and traveled to France, North Africa, and Japan. In Japan, Nakashima lived with the American architect Antonin Raymond. When Raymond’s business was commissioned to build a dormitory at an ashram in Puducherry, India, Nakashima was appointed the chief construction consultant for the project. He was also was given the opportunity to design and build furniture for the job.
In 1940, Nakashima returned to America and began to practice furniture design independently. He worked as a woodworking instructor in Seattle until 1942, when -- like others of Japanese descent -- he was sent to an internment camp. There he met Gentaro Hikogawa, a traditionally trained Japanese carpenter. Under Hikogawa’s tutelage, Nakashima learned customary Japanese joinery techniques. These methods would become essential to his practice as a designer and woodworker.
After his release from the internment camp in 1943, Nakashima moved to Antonin Raymond’s studio in Pennsylvania where he designed furniture lines for Knoll and Widdicomb-Mueller. Some of Nakashima’s most well-regarded pieces were made during this period.