Sam Maloof Biography

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Sam Maloof, woodworker, fine furniture designerSam Maloof (1916 - 2009) Born in Chino, California, in 1916 to parents who had emigrated from Lebanon, Sam Maloof was self taught as a woodworker. After serving in the Army during World War II, he worked from 1946 to 1949 as a studio assistant to Millard Sheets, an iconic California scene painter and leader of the Claremont art community. Shortly after his marriage to Alfreda Ward in 1948—and after building a set of plywood furniture for his family's own use—Maloof decided to embark on a career as a woodworker and furniture maker. He received early encouragement from some of the leading figures in contemporary design, including the New York- and Pasadena-based industrial designer Henry Dreyfuss.
In 1952, having left Sheets' workshop, and with several important commissions under his belt, Maloof began to yearn for a larger home and workspace in a more rural setting. With Alfreda's encouragement, he set out to find a suitable location and in 1953 purchased a piece of property in rural Alta Loma with a venerable avocado tree, a small one-bedroom cottage-type structure, and a dilapidated chicken coop. In spite of the property's ramshackle state, the Maloofs found its serenity appealing. For the next several decades they made this parcel of land their home, raising their two children, advancing a career, assembling a collection, and finding constant inspiration and solace in the beauty of their surroundings.
In 1994, after years of battling the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) over the planned extension of the Foothill (210) Freeway and the impending threat to his home and property, Maloof negotiated a settlement under which Caltrans agreed to relocate his home and compound to another site. The original Maloof house now sits on a nearby property that includes gardens and a functioning workshop and is maintained by the Sam and Alfreda Maloof Foundation for Arts and Crafts.
After Alfreda's death in 1998, Maloof married Beverly Wingate, a longtime admirer of his work. Maloof died in 2009, having become a nationally recognized leader of the American studio furniture movement, which favored the aesthetics of the handmade over mass-production.

Huntington Library Exhibition Press Release:  "Major Exhibition on Sam Maloof and His Circle of Artist Friends Opens" September 24, 2011


Former President of Southern California Designer
Former Trustee of the Southeast Region of American Craft Council
Former Board of Directors of World Craft Congress, U.S. Section
Former Trustee, American Craft Council
Former Chairman of the Academy of Fellows, American Craft Council

1934-39, VORTOX
1940-41, Harold Graham, Industrial Designer
1941-45, U.S. Army
1946-48, Graphic artist for painter Millard Sheets
1948-Self employed
1959, U.S. State Department Design Project in Iran and Lebanon
1963, U.S. State Department Design Project in El Salvador

1959 Hardwoods Industry Exhibit, Museum of Science and Industry
1962 Gold Key, Southern California Chapter, National Home Furnishings League
1967 AIA Award, Pasadena Chapter, Outstanding Excellence of Craftsmanship
1969 Louis Comfort Tiffany Grant for Craftsman Apprentice Program, First Recipient
1972 AIA Award, Inland Chapter (CA), Craftsmanship in Allied Arts
1975 Fellow, American Crafts Council
1984 National Endowment for the Arts, Fellowship Grant
1984 Living Treasure of Rancho Cucamonga City Council
1985 Living Treasure of California, California Creative Arts League of Sacramento, CA
1985 John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellowship
1987 California Classics Award, Craft and Folk Art Museum, Los Angeles, CA
1988 American Craft Council Gold Medal
1988 Industrial Education Service Project, CA
1990 Lifetime Achievement Award, The Arts Foundation of San Bernardino County, CA
1991 Excellence in Crafts, Merit Award, The Society of Arts and Crafts, Boston, MA
1991 Recognition of Outstanding Achievement in Creative Arts, The Kahlil Gibran Centennial Foundation, Washington, DC
1991 Award for Distinguished Achievement in American Craft Art, Sponsored by the Women's Committee of The Philadelphia Museum of Art
1992 Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI
1992 Maloof International, Washington, DC, Lifetime Achievement Award for Outstanding Representation of the Family Name
1992 Rice University, Houston, TX, Arab American Education Foundation, The Achievement of Excellence Award
1993 American Institute of Architects, California Council, AIACC Service Award in Craftsmanship
1993 American Institute of Architects, Honorary AIA Inland California Award California Association for Construction Technology Education Achievement Award - A California Treasure who is an inspiration to all who teach woodworking to the young
1994 The Bishop Gerald Kennedy Award, Honored Layman of the California Pacific Annual Conference In Recognition of Distinguished Service to The United Methodist Church
1995 Chaffey College Foundation, Outstanding Alumni of the Year
1997 James Renwick Alliance "Masters of the Medium" Award. The Renwick Gallery of the National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC
1999 Lebanon Award for Innovation, Makhzoui Foundation, Beirut, Lebanon
2000 United State Congress Award Certificate of Special Recognition Outstanding and invaluable service to the community, Washington, DC
2000 Los Angeles Times Most Influential People Award
Los Angeles, CA
2000 California State Legislature Certificate of Recognition Making a significant difference in the lives of those with disabilities Sacramento, CA
2001 Award for Design Excellence, Rancho Cucamonga Planning Commission, Rancho Cucamonga, CA
2001Award of Distinction, Lifetime Achievement Award 
The Furniture Society
2001 Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters Aurora University, Aurora, Ill
2002 Gamble House Master Craftsman Award, Pasadena, CA
2003 Maloof Home Relocation Project, received the State of California Governor's Historic Preservation Award, 2003, Sacramento, CA
2004 Ellis Island Medal of Honor, for outstanding contributions to his ethnic group, ancestral countries and to American Society, New York, NY
2004 Lifetime Achievement Award, University of La Verne, La Verne, CA

1954-71 California Design I - XI
1970 Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, Objects U.S.A.
1971 Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, Woodenworks
1972 Minnesota Art Museum, St Paul, MN, Woodenworks
1974 World Crafts Council, Toronto, Canada, In Praise of Hands
1976 41st International Eucharistic Congress, Philadelphia, PA, Exhibition of Liturgical Arts
1976 Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL, American Craft
1976 Following Sea Gallery, Honolulu, HI, Cream of Wood
1976 Honolulu Academy of Art, Honolulu, HI, Vignettes of American Art and Life 1776-1976
1977 Craft & Folk Art Museum, Los Angeles, CA, L.A . Collects Folk Art
1977 The Hand & The Spirit, Scottsdale, AZ, California Craftsmen
1977 Contemporary Crafts Gallery, Portland, OR
1977 American Crafts Council Fellows Exhibit, Winston-Salem, NC
1978 Following Sea Gallery, Honolulu, HI, Exhibition Six
1978 Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA,Philadelphia Crafts Show
1978 J. M. Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, WI, Form & Fantasy
1978 Vatican Museum, Rome, Italy
1979 American Crafts Museum, New York, NY, New Handmade Furniture
1980 Galveston Art Center, Galveston, TX, 30 Americans
1980 Vice President's House, Washington, DC
1981 Craft & Folk Art Museum, Los Angeles, CA, Made in L.A.
1981 Oakland Art Museum, Oakland, CA, California Woodworker
1981 American Craft Museum, Silver Benefit Auction
1982 American Craft Council, Collector's Weekend in New York City
1982 Gallery Fair, Mendocino, CA, Sam Maloof
1983 J. M. Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, WI
1983 Craft Alliance, St. Louis, MO, Wood Invitational
1983 Craft & Folk Art Museum, Contemporary Craft Council 4th Annual Auction
1984 Riverside County Art & Culture, Edward Dean Museum, Cherry Valley, CA, Curves, Turns & Bends: The Woodworkers Art
1984 Lyon Art Gallery of the Redlands Art Association, Diverging Directions: Artists' Furniture
1984 Museum of History & Art, Ontario, CA, Golden Age of Navajo Weaving and Indian Pottery
1984 Barnsdell Art Center, Los Angeles, CA, Olympic Art Festival
1984 Robinson's Home Design Expo 84, Fashion Island, Newport Beach, CA
1984 The Dairy Barn, Southeastern Ohio Cultural Center, Athens, OH, American Contemporary in Wood
1984 Galleries of the Claremont Colleges, Claremont, CA, Professors Choice II, 1984-85
Anderson Ranch Arts Center, Snowmass at Aspen, CO, The Chair Show
1985 Art Gallery, California State University, Northridge, CA, Statements in Wood
1985 American Craft Council, S.E. Winter Conference, Tupelo, MS, National Furniture Invitational
1985 Gamble House - Friends of the Gamble House Homes Tour Palos Verdes Estates
1985 Creative Arts League of Sacramento California Crafts XIV: Living Treasures of California
1985 Santa Ana College, Santa Ana, CA, The Art of Craft-Art Week
1985 Itawamba Junior College, Fulton, MS, National Furniture Invitational
1985 Esther Saks Gallery, Chicago, IL, A Renaissance in Furniture as Art: Master Woodworkers
1985 Haggin Museum, Stockton, CA, Three California Woodworkers
1985 Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY, High Styles: Twentieth Century American Design
1985 Craft Alliance, St. Louis, MO, About Chair: National Wood Invitational 1985
1985 Snyderman Gallery, Philadelphia, PA, Ten Contemporary Woodworkers
1986 Mingei International, La Jolla, CA, Two Hundred and Ten Years Without End: Arts of the People
1986 American Craft Museum, New York, NY, Craft Today: Poetry of the Physical
1986 La Jolla Gallery Eight, La Jolla, CA, Masters: A Tribute to Sam Maloof
1986 Hillcrest Congregational Church, La Habra Heights, CA
1986 Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, TX - three pieces on loan from the Bybee Collection of American Furniture
1986 Euphrat Gallery, Cupertino, CA
1986-89 US Information Agency, Brooklyn, NY, Design in America
1987 Craft & Folk Art Museum, Los Angeles, CA, 16 pieces in California Classics
1987 Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA
1987 Mendocino Art Center and Gallery Fair
1987 Claremont Colleges, Claremont, CA, Claremont Artists 1930-1980s
1987 The Worcester Craft Center, Worcester, MA, In New Traditions
1987 Muckenthaler Cultural Center, Fullerton, CA, Cross Grain: A Survey in Wood
1987 Philbrook Art Center, Tulsa, OK, The Eloquent Object
1987 Curated Wood Exhibition for Contemporary Crafts Museum, Portland, OR., Contemporary Crafts 50th Anniversary
1987 Joanne Lyon Gallery, Aspen, CO
1988 The Oakland Museum, Oakland, CA
1988 Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
1988 The Chicago Public Library Cultural Center, Chicago, IL
1988 Laguna Beach Museum of Art, Laguna, CA
1989 American Craft Museum, New York, NY, CRAFT TODAY USA Poetry of the Physical
1989 Dallas Museum of Art, Faith Bybee Collection, Dallas, TX
1992 Cypress College, Cypress, CA
1992 Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, American Crafts: The Nation's Collection
1992 Stary Sheets Fine Art Galleries, Irvine, CA, A Preview of 25 Works Created by Sam Maloof in the 1970s
1992 American Craft Museum, New York, NY, 8 Boxes Celebrating Jack Larsen
1993 Esther Saks Fine Art Ltd., Chicago, IL, Celebrating Artistry in Craft
1993 University Art Gallery, Riverside, CA
1993 Los Angeles County Fair, The Fine Art of American Craft
1993 Chicago International New Art Forms Exposition, Navy Pier Joanne Rapp Gallery/The Hand and the Spirit
1993 Longhouse Foundation, East Hampton, NY, Jack Larsen: Celebrating Jack Exhibit
1993 Wustum Museum of Fine Arts, Racine, WI, American Craft Council Gold Medal Recipients: 1975-1993
1993 American Craft Council, New York, NY, Fiftieth Anniversary in conjunction with the CINAFE in Chicago, IL
1993 San Antonio Community Hospital, San Antonio, TX, Caring Hearts Support Group Gifts From The Heart
1993-94 Mingei International Museum, La Jolla, CA, Heirlooms of the Future Masterworks of West Coast American Designer/Craftsmen
1993 Rhode Island School of Design, Museum of Art, Providence, RI, Two Fiddleback Maple Settees for the new Daphne Farago Wing
1993 The Sybaris Gallery, Royal Oak, MI, Living Treasures Celebrating the Year of American Craft
1995 Northeastern Woodworkers Association, Expo 95 Low back dining or side chair, walnut
1996 Connell Gallery, Atlanta, GA, Unique Visions with Ed and Phil Moulthrop in conjunction with the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games
2001 Smithsonian American Art Museum, Renwick Gallery, Washington, DC, The Furniture of Sam Maloof Retrospective
2002 Wignall Museum/Gallery, Chaffey College, Rancho Cucamonga, CA, Sam Maloof: Family and Friends
2002 Sam Maloof, Contemporary Furniture Craftsman, Beverly Hills Forum Series, in conjunction with the Beverly Hills City Hall Municipal Gallery exhibit The Furniture of Sam Maloof, Beverly Hills, CA
2003 Craft and Folk Art Museum, Los Angeles, CA Sam Maloof: Craftsman and Collector
2004 Millard Sheets Gallery at the Fairplex in Pomona, CA Master Woodworker, Sam Maloof: One-Half Century of Woodworking and Design
2004 Smithsonian American Art Museum, Renwick Gallery, Washington, DC, Masters of Their Craft: Highlights from the Smithsonian American Art Museum
2004 The Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery at Scripps College. Claremont, CA, Dovetail: The Art and Furniture of Sam and Alfreda Ward Maloof 

1959 Minnesota Art Museum, St. Paul, MN
1960 The American Craft Museum, New York, NY
1969/1984 Oakland Art Museum, Oakland, CA
1969 The Council House, Racine, WI, S.C. Johnson Co. Collection
1976 The Fine Art Museum, Boston, MA
1980 Vice President's House, Washington, DC
1980 Craft and Folk Art Museum, Los Angeles, CA
1981 The White House, Washington, DC
1983 St. Louis Art Museum, St. Louis, MO
1985 Carter Presidential Library, Atlanta, GA
1986 Albuquerque Art Museum, Albuquerque, NM
1986 Dallas Art Museum, Dallas, TX
1987 Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA
1988 The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY
1990 The Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, M. H. deYoung Memorial Museum, Golden Gate Park, CA
1981/1991 Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA
1991 Detroit Art Museum, Detroit, MI
1992 The Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC - American Crafts: The Nation's Collection
1992 The Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, OH
1995 The White House Collection of Arts and Crafts, Washington, DC

The Furniture of Sam Maloof 
By Jeremy Adamson. Published by W.W. Norton & Company, September 2001. 
Sam Maloof, 
Woodworker By Sam Maloof and Jonathan Pollock. Published by Kodansha America; Reprint edition January 1, 1989.

Christophorus 308, The Porsche Magazine, June/July 2004 issue, pp. 70-76.
Popular Woodworking, June 2003 pp. 32-35
Smithsonian Magazine, June 2001, pp. 38 - 42
Sunset Magazine, August 2003, p. 26.
WOOD, Better Homes and Gardens, June/July 2004 issue, pp. 48-51.

Newspaper Articles Include:
"Claremont Courier"
"Inland Valley Daily Bulletin"
"Los Angeles Times"
"New York Times"
"NEWS, Society of Architectural Historians, Southern California Chapter"
"Rancho Cucamonga Business Connection" 
"Rancho Cucamonga City News"
"Rancho Cucamonga Voice"
"San Bernadino Sun"
"The Press Enterprise"
"Whittier Daily News"

Courtesy of Robert Constant,