Monday, April 18, 2011

Sam Maloof. Mid Century Woodworker Extraordinaire.

Do you know Sam Maloof?  I did not until I read Mid Century Madness' recent blog post about her trip to Northern California.  One of the many (amazing) photos she posted was of a Sam Maloof chair/settee from the Oakland Museum of California  Who is this man? I must know more!  

Sam Maloof is known as one of the finest woodworkers/furniture makers of our time and a leader of the California modern arts movement.

He was described by the Smithsonian Institution as "America's most renowned contemporary furniture craftsman" and People magazine dubbed him "The Hemingway of Hardwood."  We can see why........

All courtesy

The incredible Sam Maloof:

Sam Maloof (Samuel Soloman Maloof) 1916-2009 was a furniture designer and woodworker. He was born in Chino, California to immigrant parents (from Lebanon).   In 1948 Sam set up a workshop in the garage of his home in Ontario, California.  Out of necessity he built furniture for his home from salvaged materials.   Because his pieces were crafted so beautifully he began getting requests for commissioned pieces.  He opened a true studio to dedicate to his work in Alta Loma, California in 1953.

His amazing pieces can be seen in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Oakland Museum of California, Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Smithsonian Museum of Art. 

If you read articles that quote Mr. Maloof you can feel he was a truly passionate, grounded artist.  He passed on a $22 million dollar offer to purchase his company to mass produce his designs.  Instead, up until his death he designed and worked on each piece himself, with help from his 3, yes only 3 employees, whom he mentored to carry on his craft.  Read more here: SF Gate and

You can tour his incredible home and garden in Alta Loma, California.  Home Tour Info

I've been inspired to plan a Northern California road trip to see his home and visit some museums that display his work.  


Modern Furniture said...

Very cool and nice chairs.. Good ones...

Midcenturymadam said...

Thanks for the informative post on Sam Maloof. I knew very little about him until visiting Oakland Museum. He sounds like an amazing human being, doesn't he?

I'm glad you enjoyed my post. Thanks for mentioning it!

Dana@Mid2Mod said...

What extraordinary pieces...just beautiful. And you know how I love the biographical stuff. :)

Sudha said...

lovely informative...:)


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