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Mira Nakashima (American, b.1942)

Sculptures

Also known as:  Miriam Nakashima; Mira Nakashima-Yarnell

Birth Place: Seattle, Washington

Biography:

Who is furniture maker Mira Nakashima?

Mira Nakashima is a furniture maker, architect, and creative director for George Nakashima, Woodworker. She is the daughter of legendary furniture maker, George Nakashima. While Nakashima’s interest in furniture and architecture may be hereditary, her schooling checks all the formal boxes. She attended Harvard University, receiving a BFA in 1963 and followed this with a masters in architecture from Waseda University in Tokyo. Nakashima’s father, George taught her every one of his designs by hand in the 1970s. This combination of holistic and formal learning puts Nakashima in rarified air.

After her father died in the 1990s, Mira Nakashima took over the furniture business -- producing many of the elder’s legendary designs while also producing her own. She followed in her father’s footsteps, imbuing her new designs with the same wonder and sense of possibility that made George Nakashima’s work so popular. She has had exhibitions at the prestigious Moderne Gallery in Philadelphia and in 2003 designed a series of chairs for the Concordia Chamber Players. Nakashima’s daughter, Maria, is also an architect.

What kind of art does Mira Nakashima make?

Mira Nakashima is a furniture maker and architect best known for her unusual furniture designs. Schooled both formally and informally by her legendary father, Nakashima’s work represents a holistic view of furniture design. The pieces speak for themselves. Beautiful, unusual choices with wood, shape, and construction have made Nakashima’s work highly sought after by collectors across the globe. Perhaps the most popular of these is the Conoid Chair, a highly decorative piece that still retains the functionality inherent in all Nakashima designs. She continues to produce pieces at an extremely high level, and her studio was recently featured in the book Good Clean Fun by Nick Offerman.

How did artist Mira Nakashima get started?

Mira Nakashima was born to produce furniture, her father was the renowned Seattle furniture maker, George Nakashima. Born in 1942, Mira spent her first few years in an internment camp in Idaho. It was during this time that her father dedicated himself to furniture making. When they were freed, the family moved to New Hope, Pennsylvania where they could concentrate on their furniture business. While Mira initially wanted to branch out and study music, her father’s influence eventually led her to study architecture and furniture making, first at Harvard, then at Waseda University in Tokyo. It was during the 1970s, while studying with her father, that Nakashima began to exhibit the aesthetic mastery and technique that she has today. When he died in 1990, Mira took over the family business, creating new designs and putting her own stamp on the family business.

How much are Mira Nakashima pieces worth?

Mira Nakashima pieces are highly sought after by collectors and can range from a few thousand dollars to well over $30,000 for major works. The most ever paid at auction for a Mira Nakashima piece at auction is $137,500. At Heritage, we have sold a piece by Mira Nakashima for $90,625. Many of the pieces that go in this high range have aspects of prototypical Nakashima pieces, an exquisitely modern take on the American Craftsman movement, using walnut and burl in their materials. Nakashima has many tables that are around this price range.

Where to buy Mira Nakashima paintings for sale?

See works for sale below. Why buy from Heritage? Art buyers feel confident because our experts know the market and put careful valuations on artwork for sale. We make the bidding process easier to help you expand your art collection.

How to value Mira Nakashima paintings?

The best way to value art is to compare past auction prices for similar works. View past sale prices below. When you’re ready to sell, contact Heritage Auctions to request an auction estimate of the likely selling price at auction. If you need a formal written appraisal for estate planning or insurance, please contact our Appraisal Services Department.


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