by Scott Grove
A wave to Wendell Castle
Longtime colleague remembers legendary artist
who pioneered art furniture.
Wendell Castle passed away on Saturday, January 20, 2018, from leukemia, and I’ve just
returned from an afternoon at his home.
He is survived by his wife Nancy Jurs,
daughter Alison, son Bryon and two
grandchildren. I was returning a collection of personal photographs that I used
in a lecture I gave about him and our
good friend, Gary Knox Bennett, for a
Furniture Society Conference.
Wendell Castle played a key role in
contemporary furniture development
and pioneered an entirely new genre: Art
Furniture. He used many new methods
and techniques, and he popularized stack
lamination and trompe l’oeil carving. His
work can be found worldwide in museums
and many major private collections.
My wife and I have spent time in his
beautiful circa-1800s mansion that over-
looks the Genesee valley, playing cards
and ping pong, nibbling cheese and
feeding the fish in their pond, enjoying
wine, fine food, and perfecting the Long
Island Iced Tea with Wendell and his
wife. Every time I’ve been there, I would
be filled full of energy and excitement
and even though my most recent visit was
a somber one, the creativity and inspira-
tion is still in the air.
I have an architectural restoration
and reproduction side business using
fiberglass reinforced polymer (FRP) to
duplicate historic elements, and I first
met Wendell in the late 1980’s when I
heard that some artist guy might have
a chopper gun for sale. A chopper gun
is used to spray polyester and chopped
fiberglass used in FRP. Wendell was a
pioneer in fiberglass furniture construction in the 1960s and 1970s.
I sort of knew the name, Wendell
Castle, from the halls of RIT (Roches-