Wendell Castle

Wendell Castle

(b 1932)

Wendell Castle is one of the most important and influential American furniture creators. For over forty years, he has been creating works that defy and re-imagine traditional design. Castle was born in Kansas, and received his BFA from the University of Kansas in Industrial Design, and subsequently, his MFA in sculpture. He graduated in 1961, and moved to Rochester, NY, where he taught at the School of American Craftsmen, and he subsequently established his permanent studio there, where he began to focus on his own creative ideas, and established himself as one of the first artists of the American studio furniture movement. He also became head of the woodworking department at the Rochester Institute of Technology.

Castle is renowned for challenging the traditional boundaries of functional design. His work demonstrates unique craftsmanship and meticulous attention to detail. His forms are often organic, and he has utilized innovative techniques, such as shaping stacked-laminated wood. His work has been constantly evolving. The pieces that he designed during the 1960’s and 1970’s, in wood and Technicolor gel-coated fiberglass have become some of the most iconic examples of 20th century design. His most recent pieces are often very organic, as opposed to the more geometric forms of his earlier work.

At the age of 82, he is still vital and creative. Castle’s work has been shown in many major museums, and numerous exhibitions, and he has been given awards and honors too numerous to mention. Just to name a few: Three honorary Doctoral degrees. numerous grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, gold medal from the American Crafts Council, where he was also named a fellow, and a Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Design from the Brooklyn Museum of Art. His work is in the permanent collections of The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Smithsonian’s American Art Museum and the Renwick Gallery in Washington, D.C., the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Detroit Art Institute., the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, and numerous others. His work has been shown in many, many exhibitions. His recent works have been stunning in their concept and originality.

One such piece is his Lucky Day Computer desk. The horizontal ovoid shape is supporter by three curved legs, and it opens to reveal a computer desk. The sparkling golden surface is of great beauty. This was originally intended as an edition of ten, but it proved so challenging to produce that only one was made.