An iconic authentic early pair of Conoid chairs designed by George Nakashima. This gorgeous pair of clean and solid sculptural walnut chairs have been well cared for over the years, in good original condition. Skillfully constructed in American dark walnut and blond hickory spindles. Features dark walnut and hand shaved hickory back spindles, flat curved crest rails, a beautiful selection of walnut boards used in the sculpted cantilevered seats, with wood plugs resting on only two trestle sled feet, each chair is signed and dated April 8, 1985, by George Nakashima. Letter of authenticity included. This iconic design remains rich and interesting with minimalist form.
Condition Report: Construction is sturdy and stable; beautiful, clean, perfect, original in good condition, frames are tight and sturdy.
CREATOR: George Nakashima (Designer)
PLACE OF ORIGIN: United States
DATE OF MANUFACTURE: 1985
PERIOD: 20th century
Materials and Techniques: Hickory, Walnut
WEAR: Wear consistent with age and use
Measurements: 35.5″ H x 20.5″ W x 21″ D seat height 18″
U.S.A. (1905–1990) George Nakashima was born in Spokane, Washington in 1905 and grew up in the forests of the Olympic Peninsula. He received a Bachelor’s Degree in architecture at the University of Washington and a Master’s from MIT in 1930, as well as the Prix Fontainebleau from L’Ecole Americaine des Beaux Arts in France in 1928. After spending some time in Paris, he traveled around the world and secured a job at the Antonin Raymond office in Tokyo which sent him to Pondicherry, India, where he was the onsite architect for the first reinforced concrete building in that country and became one of the first disciples of Sri Aurobindo. When the war broke out, he returned to the U.S. via Tokyo where he met Marion, married in 1941 and was sent to the camps in Minidoka, Idaho in 1942 with his infant daughter, Mira. Through the sponsorship of Antonin Raymond, Nakashima came to work on his farm in Bucks County, subsequently rented a small house on Aquetong Road and then purchased a parcel of land where he designed and built his workshop and house. Among many awards from the AIA and other prestigious institutions, Nakashima received the Third Order of the Sacred Treasure from the Emperor and Government of Japan in 1983 in recognition of the cultural exchange generated by the shows he produced in Japan from 1968-1988. His last show in the U.S., the retrospective “Full Circle” which opened at the American Craft Museum in New York, sponsored by the American Craft Council and curated by Derek Ostergard, marked him as a “Living Treasure” in the United States. This show returned to New Hope shortly before Nakashima’s receiving his final award, Alumnus Summa Laude Dignatus, from the University of Washington one week prior to his death in June 1990.
At each turn of his life – some positive, some altogether tragic – carpentry was presented as a valued craft and livelihood. From his birthplace deep in the forests of the Olympic Peninsula to the Japanese internment camp where he was mentored by an elder Japanese woodworker, Nakashima’s aesthetic is a direct result of his exposure to the wood and people who regarded carpentry as a noble art form.
The tree as an artist’s resource was of utmost importance to Nakashima, who described felling as akin to cutting diamonds. From the appearance of Nakashima’s finished pieces, one can almost imagine him wielding his bare hands to shape the wood. He preferred, and was highly sensitive to, the distinctive nature of walnut, ash and cherry. And he would intentionally choose wood that might have been rejected by other woodworkers for its imperfections. Those imperfections were to become his beauty marks.