RAM Remembers Wendell Castle

We are sorry to share with you news of the death of another major figure in the contemporary craft field. The internationally recognized furniture maker, Wendell Castle died in his Scottsville, New York, home at the age of 85 on January 20. Recognized as the “father of the art furniture movement,” Castle was a prominent figure in the late twentieth century, known for regularly blurring the boundaries that existed between handmade furniture and sculpture. A native of Emporia, Kansas, Castle reimagined the forms furniture could take, working primarily in wood and bronze. In his early career, he pioneered the use of stack laminating to create unusual expressive forms for functional pieces and in the early 1980s he produced a series of trompe l’oeil works. Later, he responded to Art Deco and Neoclassicism traditions and styles. In his 70s and 80s, Castle, who worked up until the end of his life, began to employ digital technology for the creation of new pieces. The advancements Castle created at all stages of his career were enthusiastically supported by exhibitions around the world and numerous publications.

His pieces can be found in the permanent collections of over 50 major international museums including the Art Institute of Chicago, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Victoria + Albert Museum in London. RAM currently holds eight examples of his work dating from 1967 through 1996. This includes his important stack lamination Desk that was included in the groundbreaking craft exhibition Objects: USA in 1969. He is survived by his wife, the ceramic sculptor Nancy Jurs. 


Read more about his career here

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