George Nakashima

American, 1905–1990

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George Nakashima

American, 1905–1990

1,219
Followers
Biography

In the workshop of George Nakashima, the soul of the tree was celebrated. "It is an art- and soul-satisfying adventure to walk the forests of the world, to commune with trees,” Nakashima said, “to bring this living material to the work bench, ultimately to give it a second life." Nakashima, an architect who trained at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, discovered woodworking while in an internment camp during WWII. In 1943, he moved to New Hope, Pennsylvania and opened his studio. There he created pieces highlighting wood’s natural beauty, most notably by including the tree’s rough outer layer, or the “free edge”. Nakashima worked throughout the world; in India, he became deeply spiritual. He developed a goal to construct peace altars on every continent—the first, made of book-matched slabs of black walnut, was installed at New York’s Cathedral of St. John the Divine in 1986.

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Career Highlights
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Group show at a major institution
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
Biography

In the workshop of George Nakashima, the soul of the tree was celebrated. "It is an art- and soul-satisfying adventure to walk the forests of the world, to commune with trees,” Nakashima said, “to bring this living material to the work bench, ultimately to give it a second life." Nakashima, an architect who trained at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, discovered woodworking while in an internment camp during WWII. In 1943, he moved to New Hope, Pennsylvania and opened his studio. There he created pieces highlighting wood’s natural beauty, most notably by including the tree’s rough outer layer, or the “free edge”. Nakashima worked throughout the world; in India, he became deeply spiritual. He developed a goal to construct peace altars on every continent—the first, made of book-matched slabs of black walnut, was installed at New York’s Cathedral of St. John the Divine in 1986.

Career Highlights
Learn more about artist insights.
Group
Group show at a major institution
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
Articles Featuring George Nakashima
How a Revolution in “Ugly” Design Is Upending Conventions of Beauty
Sep 6th, 2017
10 Mid-Century Designers Who Are Not Charles and Ray Eames
Feb 2nd, 2017
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