06-17-2020 06-29-2020
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June 17, 2020 12:00 PM - June 29, 2020 07:00 PMCalender

George Nakashima (1905-1990) "Cushion" Armchair and Ottoman

Auction: 20th Century Design - 3400T Location: Online Date / Time: June 17, 2020 12:00PM


George Nakashima (1905-1990) "Cushion" Armchair and Ottoman, New Hope, Pennsylvania, 1964, black walnut and Kilkenny Bergamo upholstery, with copies of original order cards, ht. 30 1/2, 16, wd. 30 1/2, 24 1/8, dp. 34, 24 in.

Provenance: The estate of Dr. Bernard S. Aaronson; Skinner, Inc., June 2019. Dr. Aaronson was the head of the Section of Experimental Psychology, Bureau of Research in Neurology and Psychiatry, Princeton University. He was a well-known investigator in the field of consciousness expansion and purportedly participated in the CIA's MK ULTRA LSD experiments in the 1960s.

Note: George Nakashima was an American woodworker, architect, and furniture maker who was one of the leading innovators of 20th century furniture design and a father of the American craft movement. Of Japanese descent, George Nakashima was born in Spokane, Washington, in 1905. He studied Forestry and Architecture at the University of Washington, attended the Ecole Americaine des Beaux-Arts at Fontainebleau, and earned his Masters in Architecture from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1929. Like others of Japanese ancestry, he was interned at a camp during WWII where he met Gentaro Hikogawa, a traditional Japanese carpenter. Under his tutelage, Nakashima learned to master traditional Japanese hand tools and joinery techniques.

In 1943, Antonin Raymond successfully sponsored Nakashima's release from the camp and helped him establish his studio workshop in New Hope, Pennsylvania. In New Hope, Nakashima explored the organic expressiveness of wood by choosing boards with knots and burls and figured grain. The studio grew incrementally until 1973 when Nelson Rockefeller commissioned 200 pieces for his house in Pocantico Hills, New York. Drawing on Japanese designs and shop practices, as well as on American and International Modern styles, Nakashima created a body of work that would make his name synonymous with the best of 20th century American art furniture.
Estimate $7,000-9,000

Good condition with wear consistent with age and light use. Joints are tight. Ottoman legs re-glued at some point. Wear and scattered stains to upholstery.

Items may have wear and tear, imperfections, or the effects of aging. Any condition statement given, as a courtesy to a client, is only an opinion and should not be treated as a statement of fact. Skinner shall have no responsibility for any error or omission.


Nelson Rockefeller, Bernard S. Aaronson, Gentaro Hikogawa, Pocantico Hills, Spokane