Rago Auctions in Lambertville will offer more than 30 pieces by furniture maker George Nakashima in its Modern Design Auction on Sept. 23
An American woodworker of Japanese descent, Nakashima is one of the foremost figures in 20th century furniture design and a founder of the American craft movement.
He established his home and studio on Aquetong Road in New Hope, where daughter Mira Nakashima has continued the family design legacy as head of Nakashima Studios since his death in 1990.
An architect by trade, George Nakishima was interned during WWII like many Japanese Americans, and sent to Camp Minidoka in Idaho in 1942. There, he met Gentaro Hikogawa, who taught him traditional Japanese hand tools and joinery techniques.
In 1943, architect Antonin Raymond secured Nakashima’s release from the camp, and invited him to his New Hope farm. In his studio and workshop at New Hope, Nakashima incorporated the organic expressiveness of wood into his work, often selecting planks and boards containing burls, knots and figured grain. While more difficult to work with, he favored these ‘flawed’ cuts for their raw, natural beauty. To join planks, or to reinforce the natural split of a single plank, Nakashima often employed butterfly joints, a trademark of his work.
Rago Auctions has sold more than 1,500 works by George Nakashima, as well as many created by Mira. The auction house has also offered works by Delaware Valley Modernists Phil Powell, Wharton Esherick, and Paul Evans.
Rago’s Modern Design Auction takes place on Sept. 23, with an exhibition and bidding beginning Sept. 15. Located at 333 N. Main St. in Lambertville, Rago is a leading U.S. auction house with over $30 million in annual sales.