Direct Hits from Danish Design History

The "Poet" sofa from Finn Juhl's own home, together with Hans J. Wegner's original, orange shell chair and Frits Henningsen's most refined furniture pieces have found their way to the Live Auction in Copenhagen.

Finn Juhl, Hans J. Wegner and Frits Henningsen are among the most prominent names in Danish design history. Their furniture can both be considered groundbreaking and standard-bearers of tradition, and many of them have achieved the status of being classics and collector’s items that continue to be manufactured and conquer the living rooms of the world's most incarnated design enthusiasts.

A Handkerchief Suspended in Mid-air

Over the years, many of Finn Juhl's icons have found their way to our auctions, and this time we can present something very special – a piece of furniture that Juhl himself used in his private home. It is one of the few original examples of a sofa from 1941 with soft curves that in poetic terms could be compared to a floating handkerchief suspended in mid-air. Perhaps that is why the sofa got the nickname "The Poet" after Jørgen Mogensen's Danish comic strip "The Poet and the Little Mother" from 1950, where the young poet from the title often sits in a sofa with even rounder curves. The canonized home of Finn Juhl at Kratvænget 15 in Charlottenlund north of Copenhagen was designed and decorated by the architect himself in the early 1940s, and he lived there until his death in 1989. Today, the home is open to the public, and old photographs confirm that he designed the offered sofa for the house, where it ended up standing in the well-known part of the house’s living room with a fireplace nearby and in the company of the home's modernist artwork on the walls.

Finn Juhl: “The Poet”. Freestanding two-seater sofa with round patinated Cuban mahogany legs. Upholstered with white wool. Made by cabinetmaker Niels Vodder in 1941. Estimate: DKK 400,000-500,000.

Wegner’s Orange Shell Chair

Where Finn Juhl was an academic to a fault in his furniture design, Hans J. Wegner is the story of the shoemaker's son from Tønder, who originally trained as a carpenter, but subsequently went to Copenhagen to become an architect.  Not only craftsmanship and aesthetics are united in his work – the furniture pieces were also created from in-depth studies of the human body's anatomy. For Wegner, the perfect piece of furniture was a utopian ideal, and therefore he worked with repetition as a guideline. A piece of furniture could thus appear as a kind of archetype, which would later be developed into new variations. This is also the case with the auction's shell chair from the Cabinetmakers’ Guild Exhibition in 1963 that has its roots in a competition proposal for MoMA in New York back in 1948. The chair is relatively well known today because Carl Hansen & Søn resumed production in 1997, but at this auction, you have the opportunity to acquire one of the few original examples in the orange colour that was typical of the time it was made in.

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Hans J. Wegner: An Important and early shell chair of orange painted laminated beech. Seat with original light wool cushion. Made by cabinetmaker Johannes Hansen. Estimate: DKK 300,000-400,000.

Refined Furniture Pieces by Henningsen

Frits Henningsen belongs to the slightly older generation of designers. He was trained as a cabinetmaker in 1911 and after a few years abroad established his own business in Copenhagen. From here he sold his handmade furniture, which was often based on the styles of the past. At this auction, we can present some of his most refined pieces of furniture that we have had under the hammer so far. The coveted Kupé sofa is made of Cuban mahogany and Niger leather, and the two easy chairs are extremely rare. The furniture’s design is liberated and modern and has stood in the same home since the 1940s.

Frits Henningsen: A pair of rare easy chairs with curved sides. Upholstered with original patinated Niger leather. Legs of stained beech. Estimate: DKK 200,000-250,000.

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Live Auction

Modern Design and Decorative Art

11 March at 4 pm


For further information, please contact: 

Peter Kjelgaard: +45 8818 1191 · pkj@bruun-rasmussen.dk

Amalie Hansen: +45 8818 1194 · amh@bruun-rasmussen.dk

Andreas Krabbe: +45 8818 1193 · ank@bruun-rasmussen.dk

Poul Svalgaard Henriksen: +45 8818 1132 · psh@bruun-rasmussen.dk