Meeting Phyllis Lifschutz at her beautiful home in Princeton today was an inspiring, moving, and stimulating experience. Phyllis, who is an accomplished artist, is perhaps the most ambitious collector of furniture by George Nakashima still living with it in the most rewarding way. The 93-year-old charming intellectual, who creates greeting cards for living, had first met Nakashima in 1957, when, as a newly married, she was not able to find any furniture that pleased her taste. Together with her late husband who immediately fell in love with the one stool that she purchased in her first visit to George Nakashima Studio in New Hope, she came to assemble one of the best collections of extraordinary pieces of furniture, and through this life-time process, the two have shaped their taste. Her husband became the the Nakashima family's physician and the two families forged a special friendship which, according to Phyllis came to change her view on lifestyle, taste, and the vision of living. From her, I have learnt today on the power of George Nakashima to inspire and transform the lives of his clients, and on the rewarding pieces of furniture that he created only for those he loved, always using the best, most exotic woods, always pushing the envelope in creating the most outstanding examples of his work. One, the most exquisite table (above) was selected by curator Derek Ostergard for the cover of the catalog of the retrospective Full Circle, opened at the Museum of American Crafts in 1990. Phyllis Lifschutz is one of the speakers in the film on collecting George Nakashima, which I am creating for the New York School of Interior Design, supported by Rago Auction, Cultured Magazine, The ROW, and DeTnk. I would like to thank Miriam Tucker from Rago for making this fascinating visit possible. Below, with Phyllis and David Rago (who joined me in that visit) in her dining room, and in the background is the exquisite dining table Nakashima crafted for the Lifschutz of the most amazing piece of Rosewood.
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