Wendell Castle (1932-2018) created unique pieces of handmade sculpture and furniture for over four decades. Since the outset of his career, Castle consistently challenged the traditional boundaries of functional design and established himself as the father of the American studio furniture movement. Castle was renowned for his superb craftsmanship, his whimsically organic forms and his development of original techniques for shaping solid, stack-laminated wood. LongHouse will exhibit one of his mammoth and magnificent bronze benches. 

Born in Kansas, he moved to Rochester, New York to teach at the School of American Craftsmen and established a permanent studio in the area.  A major retrospective of his work Wendell Castle Remastered, debuted at the Museum of Arts and Design in NY in 2016 and traveled to the University of Rochester in 2018. 

Wendell Castle’s work can be found in the permanent collections of more than 50 museums and cultural institutions worldwide, including: The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, NY); Art Institute of Chicago (IL); Museum of Modern Art (New York, NY); Centre George Pompidou (Paris, France) and the Victoria & Albert Museum, London.

One of the most ambitious aspects of Castle's later work is his in-depth exploration of bronze.  While not new to his practice, the scale and perfection of his castings now attained new heights.  The casting is based on a small-scale handmade model which was then enlarged to a hard foam "plug," which in turn was used to make a mold.   the finishing of both the plug and final bronze involved intense workmanship, both in terms of surface texture and added color through the application of patina.

"Grand Temptation" serves as an example for how Castle explored the possibilities of digital design and fabrication to achieve unprecedented complexity of composition.


Grand Temptation, 2014
Bronze, 43 1/4 x 12 x 55 1/4"
courtesy of Friedman Benda