It requires a genuine fight to produce one well-designed object of relatively permanent value.

George Nakashima

George Nakashima 1905–1990

George Nakashima was born in Spokane, Washington in 1905. He received a Bachelor of Architecture at the University of Washington in 1929 and a Master of Architecture from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1931, as well as the Prix Fontainebleau from L’Ecole Americaine des Beaux Arts in France in 1928. He moved back to Paris briefly in 1934, after which he moved to Tokyo to work for architect Antonin Raymond, where he was exposed to the Japanese folk art tradition. His work for Raymond sent him to Pondicherry, India, where he discovered his second career as a furniture maker. While there, he designed and supervised the construction of Golconde, a dormitory for Sri Aurobindo Ashram.

In 1940, Nakashima returned to the United States to start a family with his new wife, Marion Okajima, and the couple soon had their first child, Mira. They had settled in Seattle, Washington, and like many of Japanese ancestry living on the west coast, the Nakashimas were sent to an internment camp in Idaho during WWII. While Nakashima was there he made furniture from whatever pieces of wood he could find and learned techniques of Japanese woodworking from others stationed at the camp, including a skilled woodworker named Gentaro Hikogawa. After nearly a year at the camp, in 1943, Antonin Raymond successfully petitioned for the family’s release, which prompted their relocation to New Hope, Pennsylvania. Living on the Raymond farm, it wasn’t before long until Nakashima began making furniture once again and, in 1945, opened his furniture and woodworking studio.

On Nakashima’s property, he designed the family’s quarters, the woodshop, and many out buildings, including an arboretum. There he created a body of work that incorporated Japanese design and shop practices, as well as Modernism—work that made his name synonymous with the best of 20th century Studio Craftsman furniture.

Nakashima believed that the tree and its wood dictated the piece it was to become. He elevated what others would see as imperfections: choosing boards with knots and burls and cracks, which he would enhance and stabilize with butterfly joints. He designed furnishings for sitting, dining, sleeping, and working. While all his work is prized, his Frenchman’s Cove and Conoid tables are most so, particularly when executed in exotic woods and with free edges. Many of his designs are known by their distinctive bases: Conoid, Miguren, Trestle, and Pyramid among them. He is also known for his Mira chairs and stools, named for his daughter, who now leads his shop and continues his design legacy.

While Nakashima’s philosophy did not embrace mass production, he did collaborate with Knoll from 1945-1954 and on the Origins line with Widdicomb-Mueller between 1957 and 1961. Major commissions included furnishings for Nelson Rockefeller and Columbia University. His works are represented in the most important institutions in the world. 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. He received the designation "Living Treasure" in the United States, and he worked and exhibited until shortly before his death in June 1990, one week after receiving his final award, Alumnus Summa Laude Dignatus, from the University of Washington.

Upcoming Lots George Nakashima

GEORGE NAKASHIMA, Conoid Bench with Back | ragoarts.com

500

George Nakashima

Conoid Bench with Back

estimate: $25,000–35,000
GEORGE NAKASHIMA, Slab coffee table | ragoarts.com

502

George Nakashima

Slab coffee table

estimate: $20,000–30,000
GEORGE NAKASHIMA, Hanging wall case | ragoarts.com

504

George Nakashima

Hanging wall case

estimate: $30,000–40,000
GEORGE NAKASHIMA, Tall chest | ragoarts.com

505

George Nakashima

Tall chest

estimate: $10,000–15,000
GEORGE NAKASHIMA, Kent Hall floor lamp | ragoarts.com

506

George Nakashima

Kent Hall floor lamp

estimate: $18,000–22,000
GEORGE NAKASHIMA, Special Kevin end table | ragoarts.com

507

George Nakashima

Special Kevin end table

estimate: $12,000–16,000
GEORGE NAKASHIMA, Conoid chair | ragoarts.com

508

George Nakashima

Conoid chair

estimate: $2,500–3,500
GEORGE NAKASHIMA, Special Single Pedestal desk | ragoarts.com

509

George Nakashima

Special Single Pedestal desk

estimate: $18,000–22,000
GEORGE NAKASHIMA, Sliding Door cabinet | ragoarts.com

511

George Nakashima

Sliding Door cabinet

estimate: $10,000–15,000
GEORGE NAKASHIMA, Conoid chairs, set of eight | ragoarts.com

512

George Nakashima

Conoid chairs, set of eight

estimate: $28,000–35,000
GEORGE NAKASHIMA, Frenchman's Cove II extension dining table | ragoarts.com

513

George Nakashima

Frenchman's Cove II extension dining table

estimate: $15,000–20,000
GEORGE NAKASHIMA, Custom Radio/Phone cabinet | ragoarts.com

516

George Nakashima

Custom Radio/Phone cabinet

estimate: $19,000–24,000
GEORGE NAKASHIMA, Custom Speaker cabinet | ragoarts.com

518

George Nakashima

Custom Speaker cabinet

estimate: $10,000–15,000
GEORGE NAKASHIMA, End table | ragoarts.com

520

George Nakashima

End table

estimate: $4,000–6,000
GEORGE NAKASHIMA, Sliding Door cabinet | ragoarts.com

521

George Nakashima

Sliding Door cabinet

estimate: $8,000–12,000
GEORGE NAKASHIMA, Turned Leg dining table | ragoarts.com

523

George Nakashima

Turned Leg dining table

estimate: $4,000–6,000
GEORGE NAKASHIMA, Grass-Seated chairs, set of four | ragoarts.com

524

George Nakashima

Grass-Seated chairs, set of four

estimate: $6,000–9,000
GEORGE NAKASHIMA, Rare Minguren III dining table | ragoarts.com

526

George Nakashima

Rare Minguren III dining table

estimate: $20,000–30,000
GEORGE NAKASHIMA, Mirror | ragoarts.com

527

George Nakashima

Mirror

estimate: $5,000–7,000
GEORGE NAKASHIMA, Sliding Door cabinet | ragoarts.com

530

George Nakashima

Sliding Door cabinet

estimate: $17,000–24,000
GEORGE NAKASHIMA, Bench | ragoarts.com

533

George Nakashima

Bench

estimate: $6,000–9,000
GEORGE NAKASHIMA, Double Chest of Drawers | ragoarts.com

535

George Nakashima

Double Chest of Drawers

estimate: $15,000–20,000
GEORGE NAKASHIMA, Conoid headboard and Conoid platform bed | ragoarts.com

537

George Nakashima

Conoid headboard and Conoid platform bed

estimate: $15,000–20,000
GEORGE NAKASHIMA, Armchairs, set of four | ragoarts.com

539

George Nakashima

Armchairs, set of four

estimate: $4,000–6,000
GEORGE NAKASHIMA, Early table | ragoarts.com

540

George Nakashima

Early table

estimate: $3,000–4,000
GEORGE NAKASHIMA, Wall shelves, set of three | ragoarts.com

542

George Nakashima

Wall shelves, set of three

estimate: $3,000–5,000
GEORGE NAKASHIMA, Special Bedside cabinet | ragoarts.com

544

George Nakashima

Special Bedside cabinet

estimate: $3,000–5,000
GEORGE NAKASHIMA, Special headboard | ragoarts.com

545

George Nakashima

Special headboard

estimate: $12,000–16,000
GEORGE NAKASHIMA, Armchair | ragoarts.com

547

George Nakashima

Armchair

estimate: $750–1,000
GEORGE NAKASHIMA, Hi Boy chest of drawers | ragoarts.com

548

George Nakashima

Hi Boy chest of drawers

estimate: $12,000–16,000
GEORGE NAKASHIMA, Special bar cabinet | ragoarts.com

551

George Nakashima

Special bar cabinet

estimate: $4,000–6,000
GEORGE NAKASHIMA, Straight-Back chairs, set of six | ragoarts.com

553

George Nakashima

Straight-Back chairs, set of six

estimate: $4,000–6,000
GEORGE NAKASHIMA, Grass-Seated chair | ragoarts.com

555

George Nakashima

Grass-Seated chair

estimate: $2,000–3,000
GEORGE NAKASHIMA, Grass-Seated chair | ragoarts.com

557

George Nakashima

Grass-Seated chair

estimate: $2,000–3,000

Auction Results George Nakashima

GEORGE NAKASHIMA, Exceptional Cross-Legged coffee table | ragoarts.com

George Nakashima

Exceptional Cross-Legged coffee table

estimate: $25,000–35,000
result: $75,000
GEORGE NAKASHIMA, Hanging Wall Cabinet | ragoarts.com

George Nakashima

Hanging Wall Cabinet

estimate: $30,000–40,000
result: $68,750
GEORGE NAKASHIMA, Large exceptional Bench | ragoarts.com

George Nakashima

Large exceptional Bench

estimate: $15,000–20,000
result: $62,500
GEORGE NAKASHIMA, Exceptional Hanging Wall Cabinet | ragoarts.com

George Nakashima

Exceptional Hanging Wall Cabinet

estimate: $30,000–40,000
result: $62,500
GEORGE NAKASHIMA, Rare and Early cabinet | ragoarts.com

George Nakashima

Rare and Early cabinet

estimate: $15,000–20,000
result: $62,500
GEORGE NAKASHIMA, Exceptional Conoid dining table | ragoarts.com

George Nakashima

Exceptional Conoid dining table

estimate: $20,000–30,000
result: $60,000
GEORGE NAKASHIMA, Rare and exceptional Minguren I coffee table | ragoarts.com

George Nakashima

Rare and exceptional Minguren I coffee table

estimate: $50,000–70,000
result: $56,250
GEORGE NAKASHIMA, Fine Triple Sliding Door cabinet | ragoarts.com

George Nakashima

Fine Triple Sliding Door cabinet

estimate: $25,000–35,000
result: $53,125
GEORGE NAKASHIMA, Hanging Wall cabinet | ragoarts.com

George Nakashima

Hanging Wall cabinet

estimate: $30,000–40,000
result: $52,500
GEORGE NAKASHIMA, Fine book-matched Minguren II dining table | ragoarts.com

George Nakashima

Fine book-matched Minguren II dining table

estimate: $45,000–65,000
result: $50,000
GEORGE NAKASHIMA, Set of ten Conoid chairs | ragoarts.com

George Nakashima

Set of ten Conoid chairs

estimate: $22,500–27,500
result: $50,000
GEORGE NAKASHIMA, Exceptional Conoid bench | ragoarts.com

George Nakashima

Exceptional Conoid bench

estimate: $37,500–42,500
result: $50,000
GEORGE NAKASHIMA, Special Wall Case | ragoarts.com

George Nakashima

Special Wall Case

estimate: $25,000–35,000
result: $46,875
GEORGE NAKASHIMA, Triple Sliding Door Cabinet | ragoarts.com

George Nakashima

Triple Sliding Door Cabinet

estimate: $30,000–40,000
result: $45,500
GEORGE NAKASHIMA, Conoid Headboard and king-size Conoid Platform Bed | ragoarts.com

George Nakashima

Conoid Headboard and king-size Conoid Platform Bed

estimate: $40,000–50,000
result: $43,750
GEORGE NAKASHIMA, Custom Hi-Fi/Bar cabinet | ragoarts.com

George Nakashima

Custom Hi-Fi/Bar cabinet

estimate: $17,000–22,000
result: $43,750
GEORGE NAKASHIMA, Kornblut cabinets, pair | ragoarts.com

George Nakashima

Kornblut cabinets, pair

estimate: $25,000–35,000
result: $40,960
GEORGE NAKASHIMA, Rare Bahut cabinet | ragoarts.com

George Nakashima

Rare Bahut cabinet

estimate: $20,000–30,000
result: $40,625
GEORGE NAKASHIMA, Fine Conoid Dining Table | ragoarts.com

George Nakashima

Fine Conoid Dining Table

estimate: $17,500–22,500
result: $40,625
GEORGE NAKASHIMA, Hanging Wall Case | ragoarts.com

George Nakashima

Hanging Wall Case

estimate: $15,000–20,000
result: $40,625
GEORGE NAKASHIMA, Exceptional | ragoarts.com

George Nakashima

Exceptional

estimate: $40,000–50,000
result: $40,625
GEORGE NAKASHIMA, Conoid bench with spindle back | ragoarts.com

George Nakashima

Conoid bench with spindle back

estimate: $35,000–45,000
result: $40,000
GEORGE NAKASHIMA, Hanging Wall Cabinet | ragoarts.com

George Nakashima

Hanging Wall Cabinet

estimate: $18,000–24,000
result: $40,000
GEORGE NAKASHIMA, Slab coffee table | ragoarts.com

George Nakashima

Slab coffee table

estimate: $18,000–22,000
result: $40,000