Born in Chino, California, Sam Maloof is a 1934 graduate of Chino High School. He worked as a graphic artist before being encouraged by his wife to pursue woodworking. Having no formal training in the field, he persevered through trial and error to become one of America’s preeminent makers of handcrafted furniture.
Maloof was the first woodworker elected as a fellow of the American Craft Council and the first recipient of a Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation grant. He was awarded a MacArthur Foundation fellowship in 1985. Once of his rocking chairs—regarded by many craft artists as the most difficult type of furntiure to make—was the first piece of contemporary furniture selected for the White House Collection in 1982.
Kenneth R. Trapp and Howard Risatti Skilled Work: American Craft in the Renwick Gallery (Washington, D.C.: National Museum of American Art with the Smithsonian Institution Press, 1998)