Finn Juhl - Design London Wednesday, October 14, 2009 | Phillips

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  • Literature

    Grete Jalk, ed, 40 Years of Danish Furniture Design: The Copenhagen Cabinet-Maker's Guild Exhibitions, 1927-1966, Vol. 2, Copenhagen, pp. 128-129; Esbjørn Hiort, Finn Juhl, Copenhagen, 1990, p. 30

  • Catalogue Essay

    ‘Pelican’ seems a misnomer: this table sits firmly on the floor. The present lot takes its name from Danish designer Finn Juhl’s famous ‘Pelican Chair,’ noted for its exaggerated wingback. He exhibited the two en suite at the 1940 Cabinetmaker’s Guild exhibition on the stand of Niels Vodder, who built them. The only known extant example, the present table was commissioned in 1941 by Henrik and Kirsten Ravn for their apartment on Sortedam Dossering in Copenhagen. It followed them through life, to a new apartment down the street in 1947 and north to their house in Lyngby in 1954.  
    In the 1930s modernism meant many things to many people: Marcel Breuer favored steel and glass; Danish designers, rejecting industrial processes, hand built chairs from wood. Juhl and his compatriots inhabited common ground: sound technique, expert understanding of wood properties, and an aversion to superfluous decoration. That said, Juhl rejected the aloof rationalism and Georgian-inspired restraint promoted by his peers. Historian Kristen Dovey wrote: “He threw off the historicist influence of English furniture, aligning his applied art with abstract sculpture and African implements.” (Modernism and Tradition, Harris Lindsay, 2003) And forms in nature, one might add. His ‘Pelican Chair’ stretches its wings as if in flight. His table, buoyant on rounded legs, follows close behind.



Important and rare 'Pelican' table

c. 1940
Oregon pine.  
45 cm. (17 3/4 in.) high; 63 cm. (24 3/4 in.) diameter

Produced by cabinetmaker Niels Vodder, Denmark.  Together with copies of the original draft and order from Niels Vodder dated 15 February 1941. The only known extant example.

£22,000 - 28,000 


15 Oct 2009