MacArthur Fellows Program

Sam Maloof

Woodworker and Furniture Designer | Class of 1985

Woodworker and Furniture Designer
Alta Loma, California
69 at time of award
May 21, 2009
Published July 1, 1985

About Sam's Work

Sam Maloof was a woodworker and furniture designer-craftsman whose elegant, sculptural work was exhibited around the world.

Entirely self-taught, Maloof’s distinctive style relied on his philosophy of art at the service of utility – the form of his furniture was directly related to its function.  Throughout his career in woodworking and design, Maloof  showed his furniture in the United States and abroad.  He traveled in the Middle East and Central America as a woodworking design consultant, and taught and lectured widely.


Maloof redefined a classic of American furniture by making the rocking chair, delicately balanced with soft curves, his signature piece. A Maloof rocker was the first work by a living craftsman ever included in the White House collection of American furniture and was exhibited at the Vatican Museum.  His works are in the collections of numerous American museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Philadelphia Museum of Fine Arts, the Museum of Fine Arts in San Francisco, the Smithsonian’s Renwick Museum, the Detroit Art Institute, and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

Maloof was the author of Sam Maloof: Woodworker (1983). 

Last updated January 1, 2005.

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