LAMA BLOG

Just In: George Nakashima Dining Table

Los Angeles Modern Auctions (LAMA) is pleased to present an original drop leaf table by renowned designer and woodworker, George Nakashima (1905–1990). This stunning work will be available in our March 5, 2017 Modern Art & Design Auction.

Los Angeles Modern Auctions (LAMA)

George Nakashima, Cross-legged drop leaf dining table, c. 1960
March 5, 2017 Modern Art & Design Auction

Nakashima was born in Spokane, Washington and studied architecture, later gaining a master’s degree in the subject from M.I.T. in 1930. After a period of extensive travel in Europe, Africa and Asia, Nakashima switched his focus from architecture to furniture design, and opened his own workshop in Seattle. However, during World War II, Nakashima and his wife were sent to an internment camp in Idaho from 1942-1943 due to their Japanese ancestry. When they were released thanks to the ‘sponsorship’ of architect Antonin Raymond, the Nakashimas relocated to New Hope, Pennsylvania, where Raymond had a farm, and eventually founded a design studio in that town.

Nakashima was commissioned to make this table for Marjorie Garfield, a local of New Hope. The cut-off ovoid shape complements the table’s architectural legs, and the versatility of the drop leaf design ensures that the piece can serve multiple functions and adapt to a variety of spaces. Nakashima employed the cross-legged design in a variety of works, but more often in smaller statement pieces like the Conoid desk or Conoid cross-legged end table. This is an excellent opportunity to acquire a Nakashima cross-legged dining table, examples of which rarely appear at auction.

The table exhibits Nakashima’s sensitivity to the rich grain of his materials, here employing an exquisite walnut, a wood that he employed in multiple designs. Nakashima held the utmost respect for the beauty and utility of natural materials and aimed to preserve the integrity of the wood in its second life as an object of furniture. His philosophy is embodied by this highly collectible piece.

Nakashima’s work was the subject of the major retrospective, “George Nakashima: Nature, Form and Spirit” at the Japanese American National Museum, Los Angeles in 2004, and examples of his design are held in the collections of the Wadsworth Athenaeum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT; the Cooper Hewitt, New York; the Philadelphia Museum of Art; The Mingei International Museum, San Diego; and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Lot information:

George Nakashima
Cross-legged drop leaf dining table
Studio, executed c. 1960
Walnut
28.75” x 70” x 35.25” (62” extended)
Provenance: Marjorie Garfield, New Hope, Pennsylvania; Thence by descent
Estimate: $12,000-15,000
March 5, 2017 Modern Art & Design Auction

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