Finn Juhl - Design London Tuesday, September 19, 2017 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    CEO's office, Apothekernes Laboratorium (later Xellia Pharmaceutics), Oslo, 1950s

  • Literature

    Svend Erik Møller and Viggo Sten Møller, Dansk Møbelkunst, Københavns snedkerlaugs møbeludstilling 1927-1951, Copenhagen, 1951, p. 82
    Esbjørn Hiort, Modern Danish Furniture, New York, 1956, pp. 54-55
    Grete Jalk, ed., Dansk Møbelkunst gennem 40 aar, Volume 3: 1947-1956, Copenhagen, 1987, pp. 124-25, 233, fig. 2, p. 311 for a technical drawing and images
    Esbjørn Hiort, Finn Juhl: Furniture, Architecture, Applied Art, Copenhagen, 1990, pp. 23, 40-41
    Martin Eidelberg, ed., Design 1935-1965: What Modern Was, New York, 1991, p. 187
    Noritsugu Oda, Danish Chairs, San Francisco, 1996, pp. 92-93 for a technical drawing and images
    Arne Karlsen, Danish Furniture Design: in the 20th Century, Volume 2, Copenhagen, 2007, pp. 106, 187-89

  • Catalogue Essay

    Primarily known as the ‘Chieftain’, Juhl personally preferred to refer to the present design as the ‘Big Chair’. The ‘Chieftain’, when first exhibited at the Cabinetmakers’ Guild in 1949, was well received and described in the Danish daily broadsheet newspaper Politiken as being “so full of life that it seems to be almost quivering with vitality. It is expensive and as delicate as a thoroughbred must be.” The ‘Chieftain’ armchair’s handcrafted stiles support the shield-formed backrest whilst elegantly revealing the space between the seat and legs. Although the collaboration between Juhl and cabinetmaker Niels Vodder began in 1937, it was not until the breakthrough period of 1944-1949 at the Cabinetmakers’ Guild in which Juhl began to incorporate his burgeoning organic approach towards furniture design. The synergy of these two artistic characters resulted in masterpieces of twentieth-century design. In discussing Niels Vodder, the Danish architectural journalist Henrik Sten Møller noted: “The reason why Niels Vodder became Finn Juhl’s cabinetmaker was that nobody else wanted to produce his furniture. They thought the furniture too strange and furthermore often technically complicated.”


Pair of ‘Chieftain’ armchairs, model no. FJ 49 A

designed 1949, executed 1950s
Teak, leather.
Each: 93 x 100 x 90 cm (36 5/8 x 39 3/8 x 35 3/8 in.)
Executed by cabinetmaker Niels Vodder, Copenhagen, Denmark.

£150,000 - 200,000 

Contact Specialist
Sofia Sayn-Wittgenstein
+44 207 901 7926


London Auction 20 September 2017