Hans J. Wegner - Design London Friday, June 19, 2020 | Phillips

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  • Catalogue Essay

    Phillips wishes to thank Marianne Wegner from the Hans J. Wegner Design Studio for her assistance cataloguing the present lot.

    The present armchair designed in 1943 by Hans J. Wegner is considered a preliminary version of the model no. FH4283, part of the series of chairs informed by the expressive possibilities of traditional Chinese models. Marking the first project having established his own studio, Wegner, then twenty-nine years old, designed this early example of the ‘Chinese’ armchair in response to a brief from Fritz Hansen seeking new designs for their production of bentwood furniture. Working with wartime restrictions, in order to retain the desired quality of material, the wood Wegner used for his design could not exceed 130 cm in length. This early version executed in cherry—a hardwood valued in cabinetry for its workability—features an organically curved upper rail produced from a single piece of steam-bent wood, as illustrated in the original drawing of the chair dated from 1943 and demonstrating the initial task outlined by Fritz Hansen. Between 1943 and 1944 a version of the armchair in cherry (model no. FH4283) went into production. A black and white photograph in the Wegner design studio's archive illustrates an example of this version, which included changes to the shape of the back splat and construction of the seat, but appears to retain an upper rail comprising a single piece of steam-bent wood. The model was reintroduced in 1963 featuring an upper rail with two joints, which remains in production at present day. It is thought this detail was probably designed by Wegner for this final version, which allowed the armchair to be produced in mahogany.


Rare and early ‘Chinese’ armchair, model no. FH4283

designed and executed 1943
Cherry, leather.
83 x 55.6 x 54.8 cm (32 5/8 x 21 7/8 x 21 5/8 in.)
Manufactured by Fritz Hansen, Copenhagen, Denmark. Underside of frame stamped 7018.

£5,000 - 7,000 

Sold for £5,625

Contact Specialist

Madalena Horta E Costa
Head of Sale, Associate Specialist
+44 20 7318 4019


London Auction 19 June 2020