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George Nakashima, Rare Sculptural Pair of Conoid Chairs in Walnut, Signed, 1989

US$24,500per set


George Nakashima (1905–1990) An exceptional pair of Conoid chairs by Pennsylvania studio craft movement patriarch George Nakashima, among the last he sculpted before his death. In carved black walnut shot through with a tactile red and blond grain, beautifully emphasized by Nakashima's woodworking skill and respect for material, and blond hickory spindles. The chair's audacious design — physically stable but seemingly impossible — cantilevers the seat out over only two legs, a model of balance and daring that testifies equally to Nakashima's training as an architect and the understanding of equilibrium he drew from both eastern and western religious philosophies. With a fluidly carved seat that echoes the human form, a curved back, and long tapering horizontal feet that distribute weight evenly and are particularly suited to carpeted rooms. Dimensions: 35.5" H x 20.5" W x 21" D New Hope, Pennsylvania, 1989. Both chairs are signed and dated on the underside.


  • Creator
    George Nakashima (Designer)
  • Dimensions
    Height: 35.5 in. (90.17 cm)Width: 20.5 in. (52.07 cm)Depth: 21 in. (53.34 cm)Seat Height: 17 in. (43.18 cm)
  • Sold As
    Set of 2
  • Style
    Mid-Century Modern (Of the Period)
  • Materials and Techniques
  • Place of Origin
  • Period
  • Date of Manufacture
  • Condition
    Wear consistent with age and use. Both chairs are signed and dated on the underside.
  • Seller Location
    New York, NY
  • Reference Number
    1stDibs: LU3576315447752

Shipping & Returns

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

    A return for this item may be initiated within 7 days of delivery.

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About the Designer

George Nakashima

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 New York, NY
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Established in 2016
1stDibs seller since 2018
29 sales on 1stDibs
Typical response time: 1 hour
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