Born in Kansas in 1932, American craftsman, sculptor, and designer Wendell Castle earned both his Bachelors Degree in Industrial Design and his Masters Degree in Sculpture from the University of Kansas, concluding his studies in 1961. He then moved to Rochester, New York, where he taught at the School of the American Craftsmen and established his own studio in nearby Scottsville, New York. He also has served as the head of the Woodworking Department at the Rochester Institute of Technology.
Between 1973 and 1988, Castle was awarded three grants by the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as a Visual Artists Fellowship Grant to further develop his work. In 1988, he founded The Wendell Castle Collection to make his handcrafted sculptural works more accessible to a broader audience. In 2007, he was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Design by the Brooklyn Museum of Art. Currently, Castle is Artist-in-Residence at the School of the American Craftsmen, and continues to work from his Scottsville studio.
Castle is often referred to as the father of the art furniture movement. He is known for creating handmade sculpture and furniture—most often in wood and fiberglass, dominated by organic curves—that question the traditional boundaries of functional design. His work is included in several permanent collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art (both in New York), the Smithsonian’s American Art Museum (Washington, D.C.), and the Detroit Art Institute.