May 01, 2018 92




"Each tree has a story to tell," says third-generation wood turner Matt Moulthrop. He and his father, Philip, bring their artistic vision and modern techniques to the traditional craft, now a widely respected art form. Native Southeastern trees including ash leaf maple and tulip poplar are turned and shaped to form sleek vessels that maintain the innate beauty of the wood. Moulthrop pieces can viewed in permanent collections in museums and galleries across the world.


During the late 1930s and early 1940s, Ed Moulthrop studied the general arts, including drawing and watercolor painting. He developed an early love for working with wood, which would eventually lead to his success as an artist. He bought his first lathe when he was sixteen and over the years was able to get his hands on larger ones to turn larger pieces. As he began to refine his turned vessels he began to attract a good size audience, an audience that included well-known people in the art community and even United States President, Jimmy Carter.

Moulthrop's vessels are admired for a number of reasons. Their scale is larger than most other pieces. It was not uncommon to see him turning a large, 5-foot-tall piece on the lathe in his home workshop. Because of these large-scale projects, Moulthrop had to invent a lot of his own tools, the same tools that would later be featured in several wood arts magazines. Another innovation of his was his use of polyethylene glycol (PEG) to prevent cracking in his more advanced pieces. His turned wood pieces are coated with a clear finish that are as smooth as glass. This later characteristic helped some of his vessels find their way into collections of well-known glass collectors.

Today, Ed Moulthrop is recognized as the father of modern wood turning, and credited with moving wood turning from a simple craft to an art form. His vessels have become prized pieces of private collections as well as fixtures in galleries, museums such as the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Chicago Art Institute, Renwick Gallery, New Britain Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution and the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, to name a few. One of his pieces was even shown in the White House Collection of American Crafts.


Father-son duo Philip and Matt Moulthrop continue the tradition of Ed began so many years ago, bringing a modern, distinctive vision to the traditional art of wood turning. While their artwork can be found in galleries across the country, these one-of-a-kind pieces are exclusive to Gump's in northern California.


Gump’s significant role in supporting contemporary artists dates back to the 1870s, and we continue that tradition to this day. Carefully selected for their unique and innovative creations, our designers, like Philip & Matt Moulthrop, are among the finest in the industry. Shop our exclusive Moulthrop collection at our retail store located at 135 Post Street in San Francisco.