Modern Design /20 March 2005


Finn Juhl

Chieftain chair
Niels Vodder
Denmark, 1949
rosewood, leather
41 w × 36 d × 37 h in (104 × 91 × 94 cm)

This model was named the "Chieftain" chair after King Frederik IX who sat in the display model at the 1949 Cabinetmaker's Guild in Copenhagen. The rosewood versions of the chair were produced in a limited series of seventy eight and commissioned for the Danish consulates. The exposed structure of the chair accentuates both the aesthetic and functional values of the construction. Tribal objects were the inspiration for the forms of the armrests, backrest, and seat. This relationship is apparent in the 1949 guild display the chair sits against a backdrop of anthropological images of weapons, pottery, and daily life. Branded mark to bottom.Literature:Finn Juhl: Furniture, Architecture, Applied Art, Hiort, pg. 40 illustrates an example in the display at the Cabinetmaker's guild exhibition of 1949, pg. 79 illustrates a model on display at the Nordenfjeldske Museum of Applied Art

estimate: $20,000–30,000
result: $20,000

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Finn Juhl 1912–1989

Finn Juhl was a pioneering designer, famed for his organic, sculptural style, as well as a key proponent of bringing mid-century Scandinavian design to the wider world market. Born in Frederiksberg, Denmark in 1912, Juhl’s father was a textile wholesaler who insisted that his son pursue architecture, rather than studying art history, which was his real passion as a young man. In 1930, he enrolled in the Royal Danish Academy of Art’s School of Architecture in Copenhagan.

After graduating in 1934, Juhl went on to work for architect Vilhelm Lauritzen for eleven years. During this time, monumental shifts were taking place in architectural practice and theory; at the time, historicism was still the predominant style, with a surge of Neoclassism beginning around 1910. By the mid-1930s, functionalism had emerged as both a practical and aesthetic style to meet the changing needs of a rapidly modernizing society. Innovative materials and building methods were developed, creating an entirely new architectural language. Juhl worked on The Radio House (Radiohuset) in Copenhagan with Lauritzen, the headquarters of the national Danish broadcast company. Completed in 1945, it is one of the first major works built in Scandinavia in the prevailing functionalist style. 

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