SAN MARINO, CA - Wood furniture handmade by celebrated custom woodworker Sam Maloof is on display in a show running through January 30 at the Huntington Library, San Marino, California.
Maloof, who died in 2009 at the age of 93, was celebrated for the simplicity and integrity of his furniture designs. His works are featured in several museums, including the Huntington and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The first woodworking craftsman to receive a MacArthur Genius grant, Maloof's iconic long tailed rocking chair features sinewy sculpted lines that "exemplify a modern stylistic aesthetic of clean lines born of practical consideration," according to sam-maloof.com, the site for his workshop which continues in operation. It is operated by Larry White, Sam Johnson and David Wade.
Maloof refused an offer of $22 million to license his designs for mass production, preferring to hand produce his work, and fully engage his customers with the 75 handcrafted furniture pieces he produced each year. At his death, a backlog of six years of work orders were on hand, according to a Wall St. Journal report.
Maloof's woodshop emphasizes that "beauty comes not from added ornamentation. It comes from enhancement of natural materials and functional considerations, such as plugged joinery artistically inlaid." Maloof also designed the Sequoia Award trophy presented every other year at the AWFS Fair.
In his autobiography, Maloof tells how he started:
When I started working with wood, I did not know another woodworker. Before that I had a job as a graphic artist, which of course means working in two dimensinos. I was not happy working in two dimensinos; somehow a drafting board lost its appeal. I had made some furniture in the past, and I thought it would be wonderful to earn a living doing that. - from Sam Maloof, Woodworker, with Jonathan Fairbanks
The exhibition is part of “Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. 1945–1980,” a collaboration initiated by the Getty that brings together more than 60 cultural institutions from across Southern California for six months, beginning in October 2011, to tell the story of the birth of the L.A. art scene.
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