Designer: Hans J. Wegner

Wright has sold over 600 works by Hans J. Wegner, the renowned Danish furniture designer known for his finely crafted, thoughtful and enduring designs. We are proud to celebrate his legacy, one founded on meticulous craftsmanship, a masterly relationship to material and a sensitivity to organic forms. 

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A chair isn't finished until someone sits in it. 

Hans J. Wegner

Just One Good Chair

Wegner designed over 1,000 chairs in his lifetime, with 500 of them going into production. One of his designs has even become known as, simply, "The Chair." Wegner's devotion to designing this humble, ubiquitous object resulted in some of the most iconic pieces of modern design. In 1952, still quite early in his career, Wegner's assertion that "if only you could design just one good chair in your life...but you simply cannot," shows the humility with which he approached his work — always with the eye and mind of a student. 

Auction Results Hans J. Wegner

I have the feeling that the more I work on it, the more it keeps moving farther away. Maybe it does, maybe it doesn't. You can't make something definitive. Only people who don't understand what it's all about say so. I still think I can make it better. 

Hans J. Wegner, 1992 

Hans J. Wegner 1914–2007

Hans J. Wegner was born in Tønder, Denmark in 1914. As a teenager, Wegner apprenticed with master cabinetmaker H.F. Stahlberg before enrolling at the Danish School of Arts and Crafts in 1936.  In 1940, Wegner teamed with Arne Jacobson and Erik Møller to design furniture for the newly built City Hall building in Aarhus, Denmark. In 1943, Wegner opened his own drafting studio. Wegner insisted on the highest standard of craftsmanship for his furniture, and his chairs often feature traditional mortise and tenon joints and unique materials such as paper cord.  

Wegner’s famed China series (inspired by the imperial Chinese chairs from the Ming dynasty) was designed in 1949. That same year he introduce what is probably his most iconic seating design, The Chair at the Cabinetmakers guild exhibition in Copenhagen. In 1951, his chairs were featured in the Museum of Modern Art’s famous Good Design exhibit. His chairs reached a national audience in 1960 when John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon sat in them during the televised presidential debate.  In 1971, Wegner was awarded the Diploma di Collaborazione at the Milano Triennale. Wegner created his innovative three-legged stacking chair known as the PP58 in 1988. In 1992, he retired from his firm and his daughter Marianne took over his practice. Wegner died in 2007.

In 2014, the Design Museum of Denmark honored Wegner with a retrospective of his work. Wegner’s furniture designs are held in the collections across the globe and can be found in the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Victoria and Albert in London, and the Vitra Design Museum in Germany, among many others. 

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