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George Nakashima

George Nakashima
Usage Conditions Apply
Artist
Nathan Benn, born 1950
Sitter
George Nakashima, 24 May 1905 - 15 Jun 1990
Date
1977 (printed 2015)
Type
Photograph
Medium
Inkjet print
Dimensions
Image: 42.9 × 30.4 cm (16 7/8 × 11 15/16")
Sheet: 53.6 × 42.7 cm (21 1/8 × 16 13/16")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Nathan Benn
Restrictions & Rights
Usage conditions apply
Copyright
© 2015 Nathan Benn
Object number
NPG.2015.130
Exhibition Label
Trained as an architect in the United States, George Nakashima learned Japanese carpentry while living in Tokyo. After supervising the construction of an ashram in Pondicherry, India (1937–38), he returned to the United States, where he started working with wood. During the Second World War, Nakashima and his family were incarcerated at a Japanese internment camp in Idaho, where he refined his woodworking skills under the guidance of a fellow internee. Upon his release in 1943, Nakashima opened a studio in New Hope, Pennsylvania, where he continued designing and producing furniture.
Nathan Benn, who was photographing on assignment for the lifestyle magazine Town & Country, drew inspiration from Nakashima’s keen attention to the natural grain of the wood in his designs. Benn asked Nakashima to remove his shirt in hopes that his sitter’s body would echo “the earthy texture and shapes of the wood” behind him.
Formado como arquitecto en Estados Unidos, George Nakashima se adiestró también en carpintería japonesa cuando vivió en Tokio. Luego de supervisar la construcción de un ashram en Pondicherry, India (1937–38), regresó a Estados Unidos y fue aquí que comenzó a trabajar la madera. Durante la Segunda Guerra Mundial, internado con su familia en un campo de concentración para japoneses en Idaho, Nakashima refinó sus destrezas de ebanista bajo la tutela de un compañero recluso. Al ser liberado en 1943, abrió un taller en New Hope, Pennsylvania, donde se dedicó al diseño y la producción de muebles.
Asignado para retratarlo por la revista de estilos de vida Town & Country, Nathan Benn se inspiró en la gran atención de Nakashima a la fibra natural de la madera en sus diseños. Benn le pidió que se quitara la camisa, pensando que su piel haría eco de las “texturas térreas y las formas de la madera” que le sirve de fondo.
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
See more items in
National Portrait Gallery Collection
Place
United States\Pennsylvania\Bucks\New Hope