Designer: George Nakashima

Wright was early to recognize the importance of George Nakashima’s oeuvre and since our first auction in 2000, works by the master craftsman have appeared in almost every auction with sales totaling over $12 million. Wright has handled more than 1000 works by Nakashima with 80% of lots sold exceeding high estimates—the accompanying results setting new benchmark prices for the artist as well as demonstrating the confidence buyers have in Wright.

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Important and Rare Minguren coffee table Design Masterworks, 2016 Result: $161,000

Each flitch, each board, each plank can have only one ideal use. The woodworker, applying a thousand skills, must find that ideal use and then shape the wood to realize its true potential. 

George Nakashima

Auction Results George Nakashima

Nakashima Campus: New Hope, PA

Established in 1946, the Nakashima Grounds served as the master craftsman's home and workspace. The campus currently functions as the headquarters of Nakashima Woodworkers consisting of 15 buildings and situated on 12 acres in Pennsylvania. Wright continues to work closely with Mira Nakashima and the Nakashima Studio.

The woodworker has a special intensity, a striving for perfection, a conviction that any task must be executed with all his skill…to create the best object he is capable of creating.

George Nakashima

George Nakashima 1905–1990

George Nakashima was born in Spokane, Washington in 1905. He attended the University of Washington where he excelled in architecture courses and was awarded a scholarship to study at the Ecole Americaine des Beaux-Arts in Fontainebleau. Nakashima completed his master’s degree from MIT in 1930, and worked for a brief time as a mural painter before losing his job during the depression. Nakashima sold his car, moved to Paris and then to Tokyo in 1934. In Japan, he worked at the architectural firm of Antonin Raymond where he was exposed to the Japanese folk art tradition. In 1937, Nakashima traveled to India to supervise the construction of Golconde, a dormitory for Sri Aurobindo Ashram.

Nakashima returned to the United States settling in Seattle, Washington where he worked for an architect and constructed his first furniture designs in the basement of a local Boys Club. During World War II, he and his family were sent to a Japanese internment camp in Idaho. Antonin Raymond petitioned for and attained their release under the condition that Nakashima would work on his farm in New Hope, Pennsylvania. Relocated, Nakashima began making furniture again. He produced a line for Knoll in 1946 and designed the Origins line for Widdicomb in 1957, but it is his studio works and important commissioned forms for which he is most admired.

If you would like to learn more about a work by George Nakashima in your collection, contact our specialists today!

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