Jere Osgood has been selected as the 2015 winner of the Lotte Jacobi Living Treasure Award, given each year by the NH State Council on the Arts to a professional New Hampshire artist, in any discipline, who has made a significant contribution to his or her art form and to the arts community of New Hampshire, reflecting a lifetime of achievement.
Jere is the second Master to receive this auspicious award—Jon Brooks was honored as a winner in 2011.
For more information on the awards and the award dinner, which takes place on October 21st, follow the link below:
Jere Osgood Nomination
NH Council on the Arts/Lotte Jacobi Award
Wilton, New Hampshire resident Jere Osgood is a pre-eminent figure in the world of studio furniture. Renowned as an innovative maker, Osgood is also a respected and influential teacher of woodworking. Although a longtime resident of New Hampshire, Osgood’s contributions to the field of fine furniture making are recognized far beyond the borders of the Granite State. In his 1986 book “Contemporary American Woodworkers,” author Michael Stone identified Osgood as one of the 10 most influential woodworkers of the American Craft Movement, alongside such renowned artists as Warton Esherick, George Nakashima, Tage Frid and Wendell Castle.
Osgood grew up in Staten Island and attended architecture school at the University of Illinois for two years before transferring to the Rochester Institute of Technology’s School for American Craftsmen. Osgood completed his course of study in approximately two years and then travelled to Denmark for further education in furniture making.
After returning to the States, Osgood established his own studio in New Milford, CT and in the early 70s began teaching, first at the Philadelphia College of Art (1970-72), then at Rochester Institute of Technology (1972-75). In 1975, Osgood moved to Boston University and began working with Dan Jackson and Alphonse Mattia to build BU’s Program in Artisanry. This program wielded broad influence on the American studio furniture movement that continues to this day.
Osgood has been recognized both nationally and internationally for his extraordinary contributions to the field of fine furniture making. In 1993, he was named a Fellow of the American Craft Council and in 2002, he was presented with The Furniture Society’s prestigious Award of Distinction. He has also received several grants from the National Endowment for the Arts for his study and continued development of lamination processes.
Osgood’s furniture may be found in distinguished public and private collections around the world, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the American Craft Museum in New York, the Johnson Collection (Objects USA); the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American Art, and New Hampshire’s own Currier Museum of Art.
In addition to teaching, Osgood has also contributed articles to such industry standards as Fine Woodworking and Home Furniture and his work has been published in American Craft magazine.
Osgood’s contributions to the development of the studio furniture movement have been recognized in numerous publications, including the aforementioned Michael Stone book, Contemporary American Woodworkers (1986); New American Furniture: The Second Generation of Studio Furnituremakers (1989) by Edward S. Cooke, Jr., (the Charles F. Montgomery Professor of American Decorative Arts in the Department of the History of Art at Yale University); The Maker’s Hand: American Studio Furniture, 1940-1990 (2003), by Edward S. Cooke Jr., Gerald W.R. Ward, and Kelly H L’Ecuyer; and mostly recently, Warren Eames Johnson and Bebe Pritam Johnson’s history of the studio furniture movement Speaking of Furniture: Conversations with 14 American Masters (2013). (The Johnsons are the owners of Pritam and Eames, the country’s premier gallery associated with the American Studio Furniture movement.)
Osgood has also been a major contributor to the arts here in New Hampshire and in many ways has helped to refocus attention on the state’s centuries-old tradition of fine furniture making. His legacy of meticulous craftsmanship and distinctive design elements—His legacy of meticulous craftsmanship and distinctive design elements—bent lamination, expressive use of form and a thoughtful design approach—are reflected in the creations of many in the current generation of fine furniture makers.
During his tenure as a teacher, Osgood taught many of the furniture makers who are today pre-eminent in the region, including New Hampshire’s former Artist Laureate & Furniture Master David Lamb and Furniture Masters Garrett Hack (VT) and Howard Hatch (ME). NH Furniture Master Ted Blachly has also worked with Osgood as an assistant for over two decades.
In addition to the many individuals whose development he has influenced, Osgood has also had an impact on the institutional level, helping to form the Guild of NH Woodworkers in 1990, guiding the development of the League of NH Craftsmen’s jury process, and serving as a founding member of the New Hampshire Furniture Masters Association in 1995, of which he is still a member today. Additionally, Osgood was instrumental in developing the Furniture Masters’ Studio-Based Learning Program—an initiative of the organization’s non-profit educational arm, the NH Institute of Furniture Making—to train the next generation of fine furniture makers.
At age 79, Jere Osgood remains a potent force in the American Craft Movement and a significant figure within New Hampshire’s arts community. Osgood is a living treasure and highly deserving of the recognition the Lotte Jacobi Award imparts.