George Nakashima: Custom Lamp

February 6, 2014

Among the many highlights in the upcoming February 23, 2014 Modern Art & Design Auction, Los Angeles Modern Auctions is pleased to offer 60 commissioned George Nakashima works from the collection of Mr. Edmund J. Bennett. This variety of works represents some of the furniture designer’s most contemporary styles and advanced woodworking techniques.

In November 1963, to publicize a newly developed section in the Carderock Springs subdivision in Bethesda, Maryland, self-taught residential builder and community planner Edmund J. Bennett, with the help of architect-designer Doris Harris, commissioned George Nakashima to completely furnish the Valleyview model home to attract the attention of contemporary buyers.

Los Angeles Modern Auctions (LAMA)

Table lamp (executed 1978), George Nakashima, Edmund J. Bennett Collection

A year earlier, Bennett opened Carderock Springs, a housing development that promised community and modern living. Ahead of its time, the subdivision featured homes with 4- and 5-bedroom floor plans, which were “modeled to cause as little alteration to the natural landscape as possible.” The homes offered privacy and natural solitude, yet families had the opportunity to build a sense of community at the centrally located clubhouse where they could play tennis, go swimming, or go sledding. Thanks to Nakashima’s designs and Bennett’s unique vision, Carderock Springs was immediately successful, and remains to this day a diverse and vibrant community.

Los Angeles Modern Auctions (LAMA)

Letter to Edmund J. Bennett, George Nakashima, Edmund J. Bennett Collection

When Edmund Bennett sold his company in 1973, he brought the entire collection into his home, and in 1989 he built a home in Bethesda designed to accommodate each piece of Nakashima furniture. Bennett admired Nakashima and his designs, and Nakashima listened carefully to his client’s requests. In 1978, Nakashima sent Bennett a detailed drawing and letter asking if a piece of English walnut would suffice, and Bennett responded that he would wait to see if Nakashima could find some American black walnut. The resulting Table lamp (executed in 1978) is a rare piece that demonstrates Nakashima’s ability to showcase both his craft and the wood’s natural beauty.

Los Angeles Modern Auctions (LAMA)

Letter to Nakashima, Edmund J. Bennett, Collection of Edmund J. Bennett

Click here to learn more about Carderock Springs and Nakashima’s decades-long creative relationship with Mr. Bennett. And beginning on February 10 at 10:00 a.m., view these works in person at our Auction Preview.

Los Angeles Modern Auctions (LAMA)

Letter to Mr. Bennett, George Nakashima, Collection of Edmund J. Bennett

Lot Information:

Lot 247
George Nakashima
Table lamp
Executed 1978
American black walnut, holly, and fiberglass
Studio Marked “Bennett” 28.75″ x 13.25″ diameter
Together with three letters discussing this example

Provenance: Property from the Edmund J. Bennett Collection (acquired directly from the Nakashima studio)

Estimate: $8,000 – $10,000

For more information, or details on how to bid, please contact a LAMA representative.

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