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Sam Maloof and His Communal House

September 27, 2011

I had the great honor and the great pleasure of meeting master woodworker & furniture maker, Sam Maloof, in 2008 at the Mingei International Museum. He gave a talk for about 30 minutes and then his wife Beverly spoke. A short film about his legacy was shown. Afterward, attendees could buy a book illustrating his work and have Sam sign the book. I eagerly snapped up a copy of the heavy tome and stood in line where Sam would greet his admirers, say a few words, and then sign the book. When it came my turn, he ended up spending nearly 15 minutes speaking with me, so generous and so gentle a spirit he was. His hands were soft and thick as though he were a doctor or other non-labor professional not requiring the use of saws, and rasps, and planes. I was thoroughly delighted talking with him. He was full of life and had a wonderful twinkle in his eyes. He seemed many decades younger than his 92 years.

Sam Maloof died in 2009, age 93 – one year after I had met him. Lucky for anyone who can attend, is a new exhibit at the Huntington Library: The House That Sam Built: Sam Maloof and Art in the Pomona Valley, 1945-1985,” which opened Saturday, features 35 pieces by Maloof and more than 80 by nearly three dozen artists including Millard Sheets, Karl Benjamin, Phil Dike, Harrison McIntosh, Albert Stewart and Jean and Arthur Ames.

Short clip with actress Rene Russo visiting with Sam Maloof (poor quality but worth viewing)


Maloof Foundation


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