The House that Sam Built…

Chair by Sam Maloof, 1984 / fiddleback maple and ebony

You ask, Sam who? Sam Maloof (1916-2009), the renowned mid-century craftsman that is. I recently went to the titled exhibition, “The House that Sam Built” at The Huntington Library, part of the “Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. 1945-1980.” Initiated by The Getty, PST is an impressive collaboration of more than 60 art institutions across Southern California celebrating the birth of the Los Angeles art scene. “The House that Sam Built” exhibition was my very first stop on this tour. What is unique about this exhibition is that it not only focuses Maloof’s work, but also his circle of artist friends who lived, worked, AND collected each other’s work in the Pomona Valley area. Amazing isn’t it. Another highlight of the exhibition is the Chair (shown above), just when you think you couldn’t sit on anything, there is a sign that says, “Please be Seated”. You really have to sit and move around in it to appreciate Maloof’s attention to detail and most importantly, the actual feel of the chair.

Oval Folded Bowls by Gertrud and Otto Natzler, 1947 / earthenware


Occasional “String” Chair by Sam Maloof, 1950 / walnut, maple, white cord

Easily my favorite of the exhibition. Absolutely in love with the simple and abstract form of this chair.

Abstraction by Karl Benjamin, 1955 / oil on canvas
Settee by Sam Maloof, 1959 / walnut and leather

Love the pairing of these two pieces. The shapes in the painting echo the lines of the settee, or vice versa?

Thought the display of his working patterns on the wall was brilliant. Maloof pictured on the left, he looked happy doing what he loves, doesn’t he?

{ all camera phone images by Peggy Wong }


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