Hans J. Wegner (b. Tønder 1914, d. Gentofte 2007)

An Important early and rare Shell-chair of orangered painted laminated beech. Seat with original light wool cushion. Designed 1963. Made ca 1963 by cabinetmaker Johannes Hansen.

Provenance: Acquired around 1964 by private Swedish collector at retailer “Den Permanente” in Copenhagen. Current owner acquired the chair from this original owner.

At the Cabinetmakers’ Guild Exhibition in 1963, Wegner and master cabinetmaker Johannes Hansen presented this model in an impressive setup that was typical for the time, where four chairs in different lacquered colours were set up around a “shell table” with teak veneer. In addition, a chair with beech legs and teak veneer on the seat and back was also on display.

The chair was shown both with upholstery in the seat and without.

The chair marked the end of a process begun about 15 years earlier by Wegner with his proposal to the Museum of Modern Art in New York in response to their competition for inexpensive furniture pieces. The process included making the chair stable with only three legs. A challenge that was solved by making them “double” around the seat and back.

Despite the chair's obvious sculptural qualities, and that it is, as all Wegner chairs are, comfortable to use, the furniture became a commercial flop. But as the years passed, it was eventually considered one of the most interesting of Wegner's designs.

Only a few original editions from Johannes Hansen are known to exist. For the past 30 years, Bruun Rasmussen has had the pleasure of being able to present four examples of this shell-chair in a version made by master cabinetmaker Johannes Hansen. A pair in teak veneer with olive green upholstered seat, a white painted prototype with orange upholstered seat and then this example.

In addition, we only know of the existence of one more example from Johannes Hansen.

From old photos, some additional examples of the chair can be seen that may have perished over time. The exact number manufactured by Johannes Hansen is unknown to us, but it is a very small number.

Litterature: Charlotte & Peter Fiell: “Scandinavian Design”, Taschen, 2002. p. 650. Literature: Grete Jalk [ed.]: “40 Years of Danish Furniture Design”, vol. 4, pp. 234.


Condition report available on request.

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