Wendell Castle

Wendell Castle
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Biography

The American designer, architect, and furniture maker Wendell Castle was born in Kansas in 1932. He studied at the University of Kansas, completing a BA in Industrial Design in 1958 and a Masters in Sculpture in 1961. He then moved to Rochester, New York in 1962 to teach at the School for American Crafts, establishing a permanent studio in the area.

Credited as the founding father of the American crafts movement, Castle redefined sculpture and design by seamlessly merging the two into one discipline. For Wendell, the fact that his pieces were functional was incidental as he prioritised form over function, believing that “there is always more than one way to look at a given thing”. He constantly sought to escape familiarity and to challenge convention. He saw art as a form of paradox, a tension of opposites, embracing both uncertainty and unfamiliarity. His furniture was his art, every bit as expressive and powerful as sculpture.

Castle’s organic and imaginative approach to sculpture incorporated his own invented ‘lamination’ technique which involved carving into stacked layers of wood. His approach to design was truly innovative, not afraid to embrace new technologies such as 3D modelling and robotics. Never compromising on high-level craftsmanship however, Castle’s designs always employed the human hand in at least the final stage of production. His furniture designs for residential clients, public spaces, and a number of churches represent a unique exploration of the qualities and possibilities of wood and fiberglass.

His work can be found in the permanent collections of more than forty museums and cultural institutions, including the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the White House in Washington, D.C. He has been the recipient of many honours and awards, including four National Endowment for the Arts grants, the Modernism Lifetime Achievement Award from the Brooklyn Museum in 2007, and the Visionary Award at the Smithsonian Craft Festival in 2014.

Selection of Works

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Achievements

  • ArtMonte-Carlo, Carpenters Workshop Gallery, Monaco, France.
  • TEFAF, New-York Spring, Park Avenue Armory, New-York, USA.
  • Zona Maco, Carpenters Workshop Gallery, Mexico City, Mexique.
  • ‘Planting Seeds’, Carpenters Workshop Gallery, Paris, France.
  • Design Miami / Basel, Carpenters Workshop Gallery, Switzerland.
  • ‘West Coast Pop-Up’, 836M Gallery, Carpenters Workshop Gallery, New-York, USA.
  • Zona Maco, Carpenters Workshop Gallery, Mexico City, Mexique.
  • Design Days Dubaï, Carpenters Workshop Gallery, Dubaï, UAE.
  • PAD Paris, Carpenters Workshop Gallery, Paris, France.
  • ArtMonte-Carlo, Carpenters Workshop Gallery, Monaco, France.
  • ‘Tribal’, Galerie Bernard Dulon, Carpenters Workshop Gallery, Paris, France.
  • Design Miami / Basel, Carpenters Workshop Gallery, Switzerland.
  • PAD London, Carpenters Workshop Gallery, London, UK.
  • ’10 Years of Collectible Design’, Carpenters Workshop Gallery, London, UK.
  • ‘Remastered’, MAD Museum, New York, USA.
  • ‘New Works’, Carpenters Workshop Gallery, Paris, France.
  • PAD London, Carpenters Workshop Gallery, London, UK.
  • Masterpiece, Carpenters Workshop Gallery, London, UK.
  • Design Miami / Basel, Carpenters Workshop Gallery, Basel, Switzerland.
  • PAD Paris, Carpenters Workshop Gallery, Paris, France.
  • Design Days Dubai, Carpenters Workshop Gallery, Dubai, UAE.
  • Art Geneve, Carpenters Workshop Gallery, Geneve, Switzerland.
  • BRAFA, Carpenters Workshop Gallery, Brussels, Belgium.
  • PAD Paris, Carpenters Workshop Gallery, Paris, France.
  • Design Days Dubai, Carpenters Workshop Gallery, Dubai, UAE.
  • BRAFA, Brussels, Belgium.
  • Design Miami / Basel, Carpenters Workshop Gallery, Switzerland.
  • ‘Leap of Faith’, Carpenters Workshop Gallery, Paris, France.
  • Design Days Dubai, Carpenters Workshop Gallery, Dubai, UAE.
  • Abu Dhabi Art, Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi.
  • The Salon: Art + Design, New York, USA.
  • PAD London, Carpenters Workshop Gallery, London, UK.
  • Masterpiece, Carpenters Workshop Gallery, London, UK.
  • Design Miami, Carpenters Workshop Gallery, Miami, USA.
  • PAD Paris, Carpenters Workshop Gallery, Paris, France.
  • ‘Wandering Forms: Works from 1959-79’, SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah, USA.
  • ‘A New Environment’, Friedman Benda, New York, USA.
  • ‘Volumes and Voids’, Barry Friedman, New York, USA.
  • ‘Wandering Forms: Works from 1959-79’, The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, USA.
  • ‘Forms within Forms’, Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft, Louisville, USA.
  • ‘Wendell Castle in the 21st Century’, Belger Arts Center, Kansas City, USA
  • ‘Best Leg Forward’, Carpenters Workshop Gallery, London, UK.
  • Inaugural show, Carpenters Workshop Gallery, London, UK.
  • ‘Wendell Castle. Rockin’, Barry Friedman, Ltd. New York, USA.
  • Sotherby’s at Sudeley Castle, Cheltenham, UK.
  • ‘Wendell Castle. New Work’, Barry Friedman, Ltd. New York, USA.
  • ‘Wendell Castle: About Time’ Spencer Museum of Art, University of Kansas, USA.
  • ‘Wendell Castle’, Carpenter’s Workshop Gallery, London, UK.
  • ‘Wendell Castle in Rochester’, Memorial Art Gallery, Rochester, USA.
  • ‘Wendell Castle: What Pluck!’, Castellani Art Museum, Niagara, USA.
  • ‘Wendell Castle: Auto Plastic’, R20th Century, New York, USA.
  • ‘Wendell Castle: Seeing in the Dark’, Wexler Gallery, Philadelphia, USA.
  • ‘Wendell Castle’, Bausch & Lomb, Rochester, USA.
  • ‘Furniture by Wendell Castle’, Kendall College of Art & Design, Grand Rapids, USA.
  • ‘One Man Exhibit’, Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah, USA.
  • ‘Works by Wendell Castle’, Atlantic Center for the Arts, New Smyrna Beach, USA.
  • ‘Art Furniture by Wendell Castle’, Orlando Museum of Art, Orlando, USA.
  • ‘One-Man Exhibit’, Chang Gallery, Kansas State University, Manhattan, USA.
  • ‘Wendell Castle: Cabinets 1985–1995. A Retrospective Exhibition’, Peter Joseph Gallery, New York, USA.
  • ‘Ambiguous Objecthood: New Furniture and Drawings by Wendell Castle’, Art Complex Museum, Duxbury, USA.
  • ‘Wendell Castle: Coming to Grips’, Morgan Gallery, Kansas City, USA.
  • ‘Wendell Castle: Environmental Works’, Peter Joseph Gallery, New York, USA.
  • ‘Wendell Castle: Select Early Works (1971-75)’, Franklin Parrasch Gallery, New York, USA.
  • ‘Angel Chairs: New Work by Wendell Castle’, Peter Joseph Gallery, New York, USA.
  • ‘Wendell Castle: New Work’, Snyderman Gallery, Philadelphia, USA.
  • ‘Time and Defiance of Gravity: Recent Works by Wendell Castle’, Mead Art Museum,
    Amherst College, Amherst, USA.
  • ‘Wendell Castle. Works in Plastic’, 1968-1970, 20th Century Gallery, Toronto, Canada.
  • ‘Furniture As Art II’, Fendrick Gallery, Washington, USA.
  • ‘The Furniture of Wendell Castle’, University of Kansas, Lawrence, USA.
  • Inaugural Show, Hopkins Center, Dartmouth College, Dartmouth, USA.
  • Lifetime Achievement Award, Brooklyn Museum of Art, USA.
  • Outstanding Achievement Award, The National Association of Schools of Art &
    Design, Los Angeles, USA.
  • Distinguished Achievement Award, University of Kansas School of Fine Arts,
    Manhattan, USA.
  • Master of the Medium, The James Renwick Alliance of The National Museum of
    American Art, Washington, USA.
  • Visionaries of the American Craft Movement, American Craft Museum, USA.
  • Visual Artists Fellowship Grant, National Endowment for the Arts, USA.
  • National Endowment for the Arts Grant(s), Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation
    Grant, USA.
  • National Endowment for the Arts Grant(s), Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation
    Grant, USA.
  • Barry Friedman, ‘Wendell Castle, Rockin’, Barry Friedman Ltd. And Friedman Benda
    LLC.
  • Miller, Judith, ‘Chairs’, London: Conran Octopus Ltd.
  • Albrecht, Donald, ‘Auto Plastic: Wendell Castle’, New York: R 20th Century.
  • Busch, Akiko and Paul J. Smith, ‘Objects for Use: Handmade by Design’, New York:
    Harry H. Abrams Inc.
  • Fiell, Charlotte and Peter, ‘Design and the 20th Century’, Germany: Taschen.
  • Addison Gallery Of American Art / Andover / USA
  • Art Institute Of Chicago / Chicago / USA
  • Art Museum Project / Dearborn / USA
  • Burchfield-Penney Art Center / Buffalo / USA
  • Charles A. Wustum Museum Of Fine Arts / Racine / USA
  • Delaware Art Museum / Wilmington / USA
  • Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum / Ridgefield / USA
  • Belger Art Center / Kansas City / USA
  • Brooklyn Museum / New York City / USA
  • Carnegie Museum Of Art (Cmao) / Pittsburgh / USA
  • Cincinnati Art Museum / Cincinnati / USA
  • Delaware Art Museum (Delart) / Wilmington / USA
  • Design Museum Gent / Gent / Belgium
  • Detroit Institute Of Arts (Dia) / Detroit / USA
  • Everson Museum Of Art / New York City / USA
  • Fuller Craft Museum / Brockton / USA
  • High Museum Of Art / Atlanta / USA
  • Hunter Museum Of Art / Chattanooga / USA
  • Ithaca College Art Museum / Nyc / USA
  • Johnson Museum Of Art / Nyc / USA
  • Kirkland Museum Of Fine & Decorative Art / Denver / USA
  • Lannan Foundation Collection / Los Angeles / USA
  • Manchester Art Gallery / Manchester / UK
  • Marianna Kistler Beach Museum Of Art / Manhattan / USA
  • Memorial Art Gallery / Rochester / USA
  • Metropolitan Museum Of Art (Met) / New York City / USA
  • Milwaukee Art Museum / Milwaukee / USA
  • Minneapolis Institute Of Arts / Minneapolis / USA
  • Mint Museum Of Craft + Design / Charlotte / USA
  • Mobile Museum Of Fine Arts / Mobile / USA
  • Museum Of Art / St. Louis / USA
  • Museum Of Art And Design (Madmuseum) / New York City / USA
  • Museum Of Decorative Arts (Mbam) / Montreal / Canada
  • Museum Of Fine Arts (Mfa) / Boston / USA
  • Museum Of Fine Arts (Mfah) / Houston / USA
  • Museum Of Modern Art (Moma) / New York City / USA
  • Nordenfieldske Kunstindustrimiseet / Oslo / Norway
  • Palm Springs Art Museum (Psmuseum) / Palm Spring / USA
  • Philadelphia Museum Of Art (Philamuseum) / Philadelphia / USA
  • Racine Art Museum / Racine / USA
  • Renwick Gallery, The National Museum Of American Art / Washington DC / USA
  • Rochester Institute Of Technology / Rochester / USA
  • Virginia Museum Of Fine Arts / Richmond / USA
  • Smithsonian American Art Museum / Washington DC / USA
  • Spencer Museum Of Art / Lawrence / USA
  • Toledo Museum Of Art / Toledo / USA
  • University Of New Hampshire Art Museum / Durham / USA
  • University Of Utah Art Gallery / Salt Lake City / USA
  • Virginia Museum Of Fine Arts / Richmond / USA
  • Wichita Art Museum / Wichita / USA
  • The White House / Washington DC / USA

Artists Information