Nordic Art Deco
"We know that the "necessary" alone is not sufficient for man and that the superfluous is indispensable for him ... or else let us also suppress music, flowers, perfumes ... and the smiles of ladies".
This is how the French furniture designer Paul Follot described Art Deco in 1928. The style is first and foremost decorative and originated from the French decorator tradition around 1914, but over the next few decades it spread to architecture, design and decorative art in the rest of Europe and the United States. Art Deco is a conglomerate of different trends in the cultural life at the time, where the inspiration was found in avant-garde art, the findings from the many contemporary archaeological excavations in Egypt and traditional decorative art from the Far East. The culmination of Art Deco came at the World Exhibition “Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes” in Paris in 1925.
Orla Høyer’s Art Deco Furniture
We rarely present Nordic Art Deco furniture at our auctions. The reason for this is not least that the style in Denmark was primarily used in decorative art, but also because the furniture pieces made in this style were an expression of superfluity and only made to order by the wealthiest people in Denmark. Occasionally, this kind of furniture still turns up, as is the case at the summer's auction. Furthermore, they come in the form of hitherto unknown furniture pieces in Danish design history. It is a daybed, a pair of low cabinets, a chest of drawers and a display cabinet of oak and birch wood by the unknown Danish theatre architect Orla Høyer, who designed the unusual group of furniture in 1941 for a villa at Fredriksberg owned by Manufacturer Johnny Mürsch. The decorative elements cannot be overlooked in the furniture’s shapes, the beautifully crafted oak and birch wood and the bold brass fittings. The set of furniture pieces stand out as the clearest expression of Nordic Art Deco that we have seen thus far at our auctions.
From Art Deco to Functionalism
Although many of the well-known Danish architects felt the urge to try their hand at Art Deco now and again, the style’s focus on luxury and decorative elements is in its nature in opposition to the ideas behind Danish design and constitutes a creative contradiction to the period’s streamlined modernism. Orla Høyer’s furniture therefore stands in contrast to the more classic furniture design from the golden years of Danish design history that are also represented at the summer auction. The furniture pieces come from four decades of design and are led by Poul Henningsen's rare ”Amerikanerbordlampe” (American Table Lamp), designed in 1928 for American desks and produced at Louis Poulsen the same year. From the 1930s comes a pair of Kaare Klint and Edvard Kindt-Larsen's easy chairs, entitled "Mix" and made of Cuban mahogany, which they had manufactured at Rud. Rasmussen's Cabinetmakers, while Finn Juhl's ultimate classic, the exclusive "Chieftain Chair", was designed in 1949 and in the present example made of teakwood and black leather. With Poul Kjærholm we move forward another decade with the beautiful "PK 26" hanging sofa, which was designed in 1956 and consists of three wall-mounted sofa sections with chromed steel frames and cushions of original patinated Niger leather.
The furniture pieces up for sale at this summer’s auction truly display the diversity of Danish design history. Enjoy!
Auction: Thursday, 8 June at 4 pm in Bredgade 33, Copenhagen
Preview: 24-29 May at the same address
For further information, please contact:
Peter Kjelgaard: +45 8818 1191 · email@example.com
Ole Ravn: +45 8818 1192 · firstname.lastname@example.org
Amalie Hansen: +45 8818 1194 · email@example.com
Anna Berger Widenborg: +45 8818 1193 · firstname.lastname@example.org
Andreas Krabbe: +45 8818 1193 · email@example.com