* George Nakashima
a pair of Conoid Cushion lounge chairs, 1984
American black walnut, hickory and upholstery
signed George Nakashima June 25 1984 to underneath
Height 33 3/4 x width 32 x depth 34 x seat height 20 inches
Estimate $ 15,000-20,000
From the Collection of Mrs. Susan Shipper-Smith and Dr. Theodore Smith, Riverside, Illinois
Born Spokane, Washington 1905
Died New Hope, Pennsylvania 1990
Of Japanese descent, George Nakashima was born in Spokane, Washington in 1905. He studied Forestry and Architecture at the University of Washington, attended the Ecole Americaine des Beaux-Arts at Fontainebleau, and earned his Masters in Architecture from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1929. His love of wood and his instinctive feeling about the right way to handle materials led him to seek beyond his training as an architect. After graduating he spent time in France, India and Japan. In Japan he worked with woodworkers, carpenters, and architects, including for the architectural firm of Antonin Raymond. Raymond, a disciple of Frank Lloyd Wright, worked on several projects with Wright including the Imperal Hotel in Tokyo.
Returning to the United States in the early 1940s, Nakashima worked in Seattle before he and his family were sent to a Japanese internment camp in Idaho during World War II. During this time, Nakashima refined his furniture-building techniques by working with a carpenter who had been classically trained in Japanese woodworking techniques. In 1943, Antonin Raymond petitioned for and attained their release under the condition that Nakashima would work for him in New Hope, Pennsylvania. Nakashima went on to open his own studio in New Hope, while producing a furniture line for Knoll in 1946 and Widdicomb in 1957.