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Wendell Castle Portrait

Wendell Castle

Also Known as: Wendell Keith Castle

Emporia, Kansas 1932

Active in:

  • Scottsville, New York

Photo Caption:
Photograph by George Kamper. Courtesy Wendell Castle.

Luce Artist Quote

“To me an organic form has the most exciting possibilities. An organic form is not so clearly understood in one glance.” Artist quoted in Taragin, Cooke, Giovannini, Furniture by Wendell Castle, 1989


Born in Emporia, Kansas, Wendell Castle earned a B.F.A. degree in sculpture in 1958 and an M.F.A. in industrial design in 1961 at the University of Kansas. From 1962 to 1969 Castle taught at the Rochester Insititute of Technology and then joined the faculty of the State University of New York in Brockport. In 1980 he established the Wendell Castle School, a nonprofit educational institution offering instruction in furniture design and fine woodworking. In 1988 the school was incorporated into the furniture making program at Rochester Insitutue of Technology.

A self-taught craftsman, Castle has been in the forefront of contemporary art furniture design for more than three decades. Renowned for his superb workmanship and his development of lamination techniques, Castle creates furntiure that combines exotic materials and imaginative designs with a whimsical approach to his craft.

Kenneth R. Trapp and Howard Risatti Skilled Work: American Craft in the Renwick Gallery (Washington, D.C.: National Museum of American Art with the Smithsonian Institution Press, 1998)

Additional Biographies

Luce Artist Biography

Wendell Castle started his career in the postwar era of abstract art and “boomerang” tables. He believes that furniture should have the same impact as a piece of sculpture, and although he wants to challenge the old idea of “four legs and a top,” his pieces are still crafted in the tradition of the master cabinetmakers of the eighteenth century. The lyrical shapes and natural coloration in his furniture evoke the trees from which the wood came.