Finn Juhl - Nordic Design London Wednesday, September 30, 2015 | Phillips
  • Literature

    Svend Erik Møller and Viggo Sten Møller, Dansk møbelkunst, Københavns snedkerlaugs møbeludstilling: 1927-1951, Copenhagen, 1951, p. 82
    Grete Jalk, ed., Dansk Møbelkunst gennem 40 aar, Volume 2: 1937-1946, Copenhagen, 1987, p. 321
    Esbjørn Hiort, Finn Juhl: Furniture, Architecture, Applied Art, Copenhagen, 1990, pp. 10, 26, 69
    Patricia Yamada, ed., Finn Juhl Memorial Exhibition, exh. cat., Osaka, 1990, p. 132, fig. 26, pp. 46-49 for images and drawings

  • Catalogue Essay

    The model 'NV 46' armchair was designed for and first exhibited at the Cabinetmakers’ Guild, Kunstindustrimuseet, Copenhagen, in 1946. From 1940 to 1949, Finn Juhl designed some of his finest furniture, from the ‘Pelican’ chair to the ‘Chieftain’ armchair, all executed by the master cabinetmaker Niels Vodder. The synergy of these two characters created furniture that is now considered iconic 20th Century design. In discussing Niels Vodder the Danish architectural journalist Henrik Sten Møller refers to the cabinetmaker as an ‘original craftsman with a distinct sense of humour’; he then goes further to explain possibly why Vodder had ever agreed to collaborate with Juhl: ‘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’ (Patricia Yamada, ed., Finn Juhl Memorial Exhibition, exh. cat., Osaka, 1990, p. 18).

    Although the collaboration between the architect and cabinetmaker began in 1937, where they first exhibited at the above-mentioned exhibition, it was the period during the 1940s in which Finn Juhl began as he says ‘the apparent separation of the supporting upholstered parts and the visual frame’ (Per H. Hansen, Finn Juhl and His House, Ostfildern, 2014, p. 34). It is this distinctive brief statement that amplifies Juhl’s originality and renegade attitude towards the predominant Kaare Klint school at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts and the critical treatment that his work would receive when he exhibited at the Cabinetmakers’ Guild.

    Finn Juhl was always eager to assert that he functioned as an autodidact when designing furniture and he was never formally trained. Finn Juhl does not imitate profundity; he does not leave us masterpieces of modern furniture but masterpieces of modern design. Edgar Kaufmann, Jr., whom Finn Juhl worked with extensively, reflects upon the architect in his essay: 'Product and Process', ‘His forms are masterful, now as when they were new. They are capable of a plenitude of embodiments still unexplored. Juhl is no performer, he is a creator. We need more of him’ (Ibid, Finn Juhl Memorial Exhibition, p. 13).


Set of ten armchairs, model no. NV 46

circa 1946
Teak, Niger leather.
Each: 82.7 x 62.5 x 60.3 cm (32 1/2 x 24 5/8 x 23 3/4 in.)
Executed by cabinetmaker Niels Vodder, Copenhagen, Denmark. Eight undersides branded with NIELS VODDER CABINETMAKER/COPENHAGEN DENMARK/DESIGN FINN JUHL.

£100,000 - 150,000 

Sold for £77,014

Contact Specialist
Madalena Horta e Costa
Head of Sale
+44 20 7318 4019

Nordic Design

London Auction 1 October 2015