sam maloof at the huntington

During this week’s installment of California Design Road Trip, I managed to swing by the Huntington Museum near Pasadena and take in the Sam Maloof show “The House that Sam Built”. It did not disappoint in the least.

The show featured pieces from throughout Sam’s career alongside works that Sam and Alfeda Maloof collected from their artist friends in the Pomona area. It was a great idea for a show and gave context for both the furniture and the art that enhanced the experience of seeing it.

One of the super nice docents said that if Sam had been at the show that he would have been going nuts, since people weren’t allowed to touch the furniture. He wanted people to be able to feel it and appreciate it by touching it as well as by looking at it. Luckily they had a Maloof lounge chair made of maple and ebony from 1984 that was available for people to sit in. I gave it a whirl and it was hard to imagine a more comfortable chair. Amazing!

maloof string chair

"string" chair and plywood and walnut coffee table, both from 1950 with some rad Natzler hanging around

Maloof's 1952 chair "after Wegner"

after wegner chair 02

detail of the "after Wegner" chair - I love the dovetailing on the back

rough chair seat showing the five strips of wood that are used in the chair's construction

form progression

forms showing the progression of a chair arm (from the bottom up)


jigs for the backs of different chair designs

mcintosh grouping

a grouping of sublime Harrison McIntosh pots

woolley box

really cool Ellamarie and Jackson Woolley enamel top box


more pieces by Sam's Pomona area pals - two paintings by Doug McClellan, another McIntosh piece, 1956 stoneware by Rupert Deese (hard to see in this pic but great shapes) and a beautiful Bob Stocksdale bowl

That was a great show. OK, now we need to go take a tour of his house.

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