Prestini Bowl
Prestini Bowl Small

James Prestini 1908-1993

A sculptor, designer and teacher, James Prestini is renowned for his beautifully elegant turned wood objects that he created in the thirties and forties. These elegant works were thin walled vessels that were fine art that gave the appearance of having practical use.

As a teacher at UC Berkeley, James Prestini taught generations of architecture and city planning students throughout his thirty years of tenure. Prestini was born in 1908 in Waterford, Connecticut, and received a Bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering from Yale in 1930. Already steeped in art and industrial design, he continued his studies at the University of Stockholm and eventually landed a teaching job at the acclaimed Institute of Design (known in art circles as the I.D.) in Chicago in the 1940's.

After several other teaching stints in the United States, Prestini went to Italy to study sculpture for three years. It was from Italy that Wurster summoned him to teach at Berkeley.

James Prestini was honored by many awards and prizes. He is best known as the father of wood turning art, and his wood pieces are extremely rare and sought after. They appear in many major collection, including the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Smithsonian Institution.