March 5, 2017


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Lot 96: George Nakashima

Lot 96: George Nakashima

Cross-legged drop-leaf dining table

Executed c. 1960
28.75" x 70" x 35.25" (62" extended)
Together with a lazy Susan of similar style (not illustrated)
Provenance: Marjorie Garfield, New Hope, Pennsylvania (acquired directly from the Nakashima studio); Thence by descent
Estimate: $12,000 - $15,000
Price Realized: $13,750
Inventory Id: 24096

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The designs of George Nakashima (1905-1990) are among the most elegant and enduring in post–war American furniture. Born in Spokane, Washington, he originally studied architecture before embarking on a series of worldwide travels that proved deeply influential on his future designs. Nakashima is renowned for his sensitive approach toward natural materials. He conceived of furniture as a second incarnation of the wood and aimed to preserve its integrity, beauty, and utility by emphasizing the textures of their rich grains in his designs. In an interview Nakashima stated: “In order to produce a fine piece of furniture, the spirit of a tree lives on and I can give it a second life, something like the medical profession… I can make an object that can live forever, if used properly.”\r
\r\rA selection of four elegant walnut pieces by Nakashima, including a drop leaf table that was commissioned especially for the client’s mother, show the masterful range of his craft. While the cross–legged dining table design is more common in the designer’s smaller works, this is a rare example of such a motif applied to a dining table, which seldom appears at auction. The room divider, equipped with three sliding doors, is an exceptionally versatile piece as it is finished on the back, allowing the piece to be placed in various configurations. \r
\rIts gently curved profile follows the form of the walnut and adheres to Nakashima’s principle of respect for the ancient woods that he worked with. The wood slab coffee table remains one of Nakashima’s most iconic designs, with its rough–hewn form and neatly angled legs, the epitome of pared-back modernist grace. This is an extraordinary opportunity to acquire a suite of timeless pieces by a master craftsman.
\rInterview with George Nakashima. Dir. Jim Bunn. George Nakashima Woodworker. N.p., 23 Apr. 2013. Web. 12 Dec. 2016. \r