Wendell Castle (American, b.1932) is a renowned designer and sculptor, and is recognized as father of the American Studio Furniture movement. Castle studied at the University of Kansas, earning his BFA in industrial design in 1958, and his MFA in 1961. He soon moved to New York, and began teaching at the Rochester Institute of Technology’s School of American Craftsmen, where he is currently an artist in residence. He opened the Wendell Castle School in 1980.

Known for his elegant, often whimsical work, his pieces are characterized by bold color and his use of a variety of different materials, including wood, metals, plastics, and veneers. Castle is the recipient of numerous awards, including a Visual Artists Fellowship Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Visionaries of the American Craft Movement award from the American Craft Museum, a Master of the Medium award from The James Renwick Alliance of the National Museum of American Art, and a Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Design from the Brooklyn Museum of Art.

Timeline

1932
Born in Emporia, KS
1958
BFA, University of Kansas, Industrial Design
1961
MFA, University of Kansas, Sculpture
Lives and works in New York, NY

Exhibitions

2012–2013
Wendell Castle: A New Environment. Friedman Benda, New York, NY (solo)
2012–2013
Wendell Castle: Volumes and Voids. Barry Friedman, New York, NY (solo)
2012–2013
Wendell Castle: Wandering Forms – Works from 1959-79. The Aldrich Museum, Ridgefield, CT (solo)
2012–2013
Wendell Castle: Forms within Forms, the 21st Century. Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft, Louisville, KY (solo)
2011–2012
Wendell Castle: Best Leg Forward. Carpenter’s Workshop Gallery. London, UK (solo)
2011–2012
Crafting Modernism: Midcentury American Art and Design. Museum of Art and Design, New York, NY
2011–2012
The Abstract Forms of Pablo Picasso and Wendell Castle. Wexler Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
2011
Wendell Castle in the 21st Century. Belger Arts Center, Kansas City, MO (solo)
2010
Wendell Castle. Rockin’. Barry Friedman, Ltd. New York, NY (solo)
2010
The Edge of Art: New York State Artists Series. Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, NY
2010
Sotheby's at Sudeley Castle: A Selling Exhibition. Cheltenham, UK. May 28 - August 1, 2010
2007–2009
Craft in America: Expanding Traditions. Craft in America, Los Angeles, CA
2008
New Work by Wendell Castle: Works on Paper by Chuck Close. Wexler Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
2008
Wendell Castle. New Work. Barry Friedman, Ltd. New York, NY (solo)
2008
Wendell Castle. Carpenter’s Workshop Gallery, London, UK (solo)
2008
Wendell Castle: About Time. Spencer Museum of Art, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS (solo)
2007
Shy Boy, She Devil, and Isis: The Art of Conceptual Craft. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
2007
Not Furniture: XXI Design. Hedge Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2006
Pop Art and Its Affinities. Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA
2004–2006
Wendell Castle in Rochester. Memorial Art Gallery, Rochester, NY (solo)
2005
Wendell Castle: What Pluck! Castellani Art Museum, Niagara, NY (solo)
2005
Recent Acquisitions. Spencer Museum of Art, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS
2005
Good Heart. Gerald Peters Gallery, Sante Fe, NM
2004–2005
Black & White. Galerie von Bartha, Basel, Switzerland
2004
Outrageous Home. The Hunterdon Museum of Art, Clinton, NJ
2004
The White House Collection of American Crafts. Jimmy Carter Presidential Library, Atlanta, GA
2004
Summer Group Show. Marlborough Gallery, New York, NY
2004
Right at Home: American Studio Furniture. Renwick Gallery, Washington, D.C.
2004
The Perfect Collection: A Shared Vision of Contemporary Craft. The Fuller Museum, Brockton, MA
2004
Wendell Castle: Auto Plastic. R 20th Century, New York, NY (solo)
2003
Wendell Castle: Seeing in the Dark. Wexler Gallery, Philadelphia, PA (solo)
2003
Triennial 9 Form & Contents: Corporal Identity-Body Language. Museum Für Angewandte Kunst, Frankfurt, Germany
2003
Teasing the Eye: Crafted Illusions. The Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.
2003
Significant Objects from the Modern Design Collection. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY
2003
Corporal Identity-Body Language. Museum of Arts & Design, New York, NY
2003
The Maker's Hand: American Studio Furniture, 1940-1990. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
2003
Kanazawa World Craft Forum 2003. Kanazawa, Japan
2002
Deceptions and Illusions: Five Centuries of Trompe L'Oeil Painting. The National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
2002
Embellished with Gold. Decorative Arts Museum, Little Rock, AK
2001
Objects for Use: Handmade by Design. American Craft Museum, New York, NY
2001
Contemporary Craft in the Museum of Fine Arts. Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Houston, TX
2001
Wendell Castle. Bausch & Lomb, Rochester, NY (solo)
2000
Furniture by Wendell Castle. Kendall College of Art & Design, Grand Rapids, MI (solo)
1999
Recent Acquisitions. Decorative Arts. Traveling exhibition: Musée des Art Décoratifs, Paris, France; Die Neue Sammlung, Munich, Germany; J.B. Speed Museum, Louisville, KY; Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, VA; Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati, OH; Canadian Museum of Civilization, Quebec, Canada; Montreal Museum of Decorative Arts, Montreal, Canada
1995–1999
The White House Collection of American Crafts. Traveling exhibition: Mint Museum, Charlotte, NC; Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington, DE; Tampa Museum of Art, Tampa, FL; Colby College Museum of Art, Waterville, ME; Art Museum of Western Virginia, Roanoke, VA; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA; American Craft Museum, New York, NY; Rochester Memorial Art Gallery, Rochester, NY; The Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.
1995–1999
The Handmade: shifting paradigms. Singapore Art Museum, Singapore, Japan
1995–1999
Recent Acquisitions of Furniture. The Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.
1997
Renwick at 25. Renwick Gallery, Washington, D.C.
1997
Celebrating American Craft. The Danish Museum of Decorative Art, Copenhagen, Denmark
1997
Designed for Delight. Alternative aspects of twentieth-century decorative arts. Canadian Museum of Civilization, Hull, Canada; Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati, OH; Montreal Museum of Decorative Arts, Montreal, Canada; Musee des Arts Decoratifs, Paris, France; Muzeum Narodowe w Krakowie, Krakow, Poland; Die Neue Sammlung, Munich, Germany; J.B. Speed Art Museum, Louisville, KY; Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, VA
1996–1997
Four Decades of Discovery: The 40th Anniversary of the American Craft Museum. American Craft Museum, New York, NY
1996
New Furniture: Beyond Form and Function. Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Ithaca, NY
1996
Wendell Castle and Nancy Jurs: A Marriage of Life and Art. Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts, Wilmington, DE
1996
One Man Exhibit. Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah, GA (solo)
1995–1996
Breaking Barriers: Recent American Craft. Traveling exhibition: American Craft Museum, New York, NY; Museum of Art, Albany, GA; Madison Art Center, Madison, WI; Portland Art Museum, Portland, OR
1995
Art for Everyday. Wharton Esherick Museum, Paoli, PA
1995
Please Be Seated: Masters of the Art of Seating. The Henry Morrison Flagler Museum, Palm Beach, FL
1995
Works by Wendell Castle. Atlantic Center for the Arts, New Smyrna Beach, FL (solo)
1995
Art Furniture by Wendell Castle. Orlando Museum of Art, Orlando, FL (solo)
1995
One-Man Exhibit. Chang Gallery, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS (solo)
1995
Wendell Castle: Cabinets 1985 – 1995. A Retrospective Exhibition. Peter Joseph Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
1994
Ambiguous Objecthood: New Furniture and Drawings by Wendell Castle. Art Complex Museum, Duxbury, MA (solo)
1994
Wendell Castle: Coming to Grips. Morgan Gallery, Kansas City, MO (solo)
1994
New Work by Wendell Castle. Carleton Art Gallery, Carleton College, Northfield, MN (solo)
1994
The Object of Pop. Franklin Parrasch Gallery, New York, NY
1993
Furniture Fantasy. Susquehanna Art Museum, Harrisburg, PA
1993
Wendell Castle: Environmental Works. Peter Joseph Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
1993
Wendell Castle: Select Early Works (1971-75). Franklin Parrasch Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
1991–1993
Design 1935-1965: What Modern Was. Traveling exhibition: Canadian Museum of Civilization, Quebec, Canada; Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Montreal, Canada; Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, MD; Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas, City, MO; Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, OH; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA
1992
Craft Today: USA. The Gulbenkian, Lisbon, Portugal
1989–1992
Crafted Today USA. Traveling exhibition: The Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington D.C.; Sala Sant Jaume de la Fundacio La Caixa, Barcelona, Spain; The Grassi Museum, Leipzig, Germany; Slovak National Gallery, Bratislava, Slovakia; Eommex Cultural Center-Zapperion, Athens, Greece; American Haus, Berlin, Germany; St. Peter’s Abbey, Ghent, Belgium; The Oslo Museum of Applied Art, Oslo, Norway; Ataturk Cultural Center, Ankara, Turkey; Museum of Applied Arts, Moscow, Russia; Musée des Art Décoratifs, Lausanne, Switzerland; Zacheta Gallery, Warsaw, Poland; Museum Für Kunsthandwerk, Frankfurt, Germany; Taidetollisuusmustoi, Helsinki, Finland; Musée des Art Décoratifs, Paris, France
1991
1991 Kanazawa Gran-Prix Arts & Crafts Competition. Kanazawa Culture Hall Gallery, Kanazawa, Japan
1991
Masterworks. Peter Joseph Gallery, New York, NY
1991
Angel Chairs: New Work by Wendell Castle. Peter Joseph Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
1989–1991
Furniture of Wendell Castle. Traveling retrospective exhibit: Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit, MI; American Craft Museum, New York, NY; Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, VA; Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington, DE; Memorial Art Gallery, Rochester, NY (solo)
1987–1991
The Eloquent Object: the Evolution of American Art in Craft Media since 1945. Traveling exhibition: Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, Japan; Virginia Museum of Fine Art, Richmond, VA; Orlando Museum of Art, Orlando, FL; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA; The Oakland Museum, Oakland, CA
1989
Artful Objects: Recent American Crafts. Fort Wayne Museum of Art, Fort Wayne, IN
1989
Wendell Castle: New Work. Snyderman Gallery, Philadelphia, PA (solo)
1988
Wendell Castle: A Decade 1977-1987. Alexander Milliken Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
1988
Clockwork! List Visual Arts Center, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston, MA
1988
The World of Art, Today. Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee, WI
1986–1988
Craft Today: Poetry of the Physical. Traveling exhibition: Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, VA; J.B. Speed Art Museum, Louisville, KY; Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee, WI; The Denver Art Museum; American Craft Museum, Denver, CO
1987
New Work: Wendell Castle, Garry Knox Bennet, Fred Baier. Alexander Milliken Gallery, New York, NY
1987
________. A Gallery, Palm Desert, CA
1985–1987
Material Evidence, New Color Techniques in Handmade Furniture. The Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.
1986
Time and Defiance of Gravity: Recent Works by Wendell Castle. Mead Art Museum, Amherst College, Amherst, MA (solo)
1986
________. Memorial Art Gallery, Rochester, NY (solo)
1986
Wendell Castle. Works in Plastic 1968-1970. 20th Century Gallery, Toronto, Canada (solo)
1986
Wendell Castle. Sculpture? Furniture? The Vanishing Line, Fendrick Gallery, Washington, D.C. (solo)
1985–1986
Masterpieces of Time. The Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C. (solo)
1985
________. Taft Museum, Cincinnati, OH (solo)
1985
High Styles: Twentieth-Century American Design. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY
1983
Ornamentalism: The New Decorativeness in Architecture and Design. Hudson River Museum, Yonkers, NY
1980
Sitting in Style. The Society of Arts and Crafts, Boston, MA
1980
________.The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
1980
Furniture As Art II. Fendrick Gallery, Washington, D.C. (solo)
1979–1980
New Handmade Furniture. Museum of Contemporary Crafts, New York, NY
1979
Paley/Castle. Wildenhain, Memorial Art Gallery, Rochester, NY
1977
American Crafts 1977/ The Philadelphia Craft Show. The Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA
1977
Drawing Show. Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY
1976
American Crafts '76, an Aesthetic View. Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL
1975–1976
Craft Multiplies. The Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.
1973–1974
Innovations: Contemporary Home Environs. La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art, La Jolla, CA
1972
Woodenworks: Furniture Objects by Five Contemporary Craftsmen. The Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.
1972
________. Minnesota Museum of Art, St. Paul, MN
1969–1972
Objects USA: The Johnson Collection of Contemporary Crafts. Traveling exhibition: Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington D.C.; University of Rochester, Rochester, NY; Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, MI; Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinatti, OH; St. Paul Art Center, Saint Paul, MN; Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, WA; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA
1970
Attitudes. The Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY
1970
Environments for Contemplation. Museum of Contemporary Crafts, New York, NY
1969
The Furniture of Wendell Castle. University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS (solo)
1969
State University of New York, Cortland, NY (solo)
1966
Wendell Castle, Wharton Esherick, Sam Maloof, Marcello Grassman. Renaissance Society, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL
1966
Fantasy Furniture. Museum of Contemporary Crafts, New York, NY
1966
Internationals Kunsthandwerk, 1966. Stuttgart, Germany
1965–1966
Memorial Art Gallery, Rochester, NY (solo)
1964
United States of America Section at the 13th Triennale. Milan, Italy
1964
The American Craftsman. Museum of Contemporary Crafts, New York, NY
1962
1962 Young Americans. Museum of Contemporary Crafts, New York, NY
1962
Inaugural Show. Hopkins Center, Dartmouth College, Dartmouth, NH (solo)
1962
Louisville Art Association, Louisville, KY (solo)
1962
Ithaca College Museum of Art, Ithaca, NY (solo)
1962
Scudder Gallery, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH (solo)

Public Collections

Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.
Spencer Museum of Art, Lawrence, KS
Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, OH
White House Collection of American Crafts, Washington D.C.
Wichita Art Museum, Wichita, KS
Wolfsonian Foundation, Miami Beach, FL
Monroe County-Greater Rochester International Airport, Rochester, NY
Museum of Art, St. Louis, MO
Museum of Art and Design, New York, NY
Museum of Decorative Arts, Montreal, Canada
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX
Museum of Modern Art, Design Collection, New York, NY
Nordenfjeldske Kunstindustrimuseet, Oslo, Norway
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA
Racine Art Museum, Racine, WI
Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit, MI
DuPont Center, Orlando, FL
Gilman Foundation, New York, NY
Hunter Museum of Art, Chattanooga, TN
Manchester Art Gallery, Manchester, UK
Memorial Art Gallery, Rochester, NY
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY
Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee, WI
Mint Museum of Art, Charlotte, NC
Minneapolis Institute of Fine Arts, Minneapolis, MN
Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, MA
Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Atlanta High Museum, Atlanta, GA
Belger Arts Center, Kansas City, MO
Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY
Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA
Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati, OH
Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum, New York, NY
Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington, DE
Design Museum Ghent, Ghent, Belgium