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George Nakashima

george nakashima portrait

George Nakashima (1905-1990) was born in Spokane, Washington and grew up in the forests of the Olympic Peninsula. A leader in woodworking and sculpture, 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, who now operates Nakashima Studio.

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. 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.

george nakashima grass seated chairs wright

Grass-Seated Chairs

A set of eight circa-1941 dining chairs by George Nakashima, constructed of one of his favorite materials, black walnut; each is complemented by a seagrass-covered seat.

george nakashima desk lost city arts

Nakashima Single Pedestal Desk

This solid walnut piece features a stout pedestal with three drawers with inset handles; Nakashima designed it to be positioned on either the left or the right, depending on the user's need. The top is composed of three boards, with the center piece carrying a very dynamic grain. The floating end is supported by a pair of simple spindle legs. The desk was recently restored by Mira Nakashima and is in excellent condition.

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