Art Deco, PH and Peder Moos
The 1925 World Exhibition, which was held in Paris, is considered to be one of the most important ever – an exhibition where the leading style of the day, Art Deco, was exposed in all its glory. Visitors to the exhibition could therefore experience a whole host of historical styles, distinctive decorations and luxurious looks. The architect Kay Fisker designed “The Danish Pavilion”, which housed many of the names that have since secured themselves a permanent place in Danish design history.
Danish Art Deco
Two items from the pavilion have found their way to the auction. The eye-catching, rare bronze pendant is designed by Aage Rafn, the architect behind Politigården (the police headquarters) in Copenhagen. Inspired by the Roman scales held by the goddess Justitia as a symbol of justice, he originally designed the lamp for this building in 1924, but the following year, it was also a part of the pavilion’s imposing living room. Exhibited in the pavilion’s garden room was architect and professor Kaj Gottlob’s classic oak table, which also bears Art Deco characteristics.
World-class French craftsmanship
From a Danish point of view, businessman Benny Dessau played a crucial role in the World Exhibitions. He was the director of the Tuborg breweries and chairman of the Museum of Art and Craft in Copenhagen and the commission responsible for Danish representation at the World Exhibitions in the 1920s and 30s. From his collection, we have a glass flacon and a lidded jar from 1925 by the coveted Art Deco craftsmen Maurice Marinot, Henri Simmen and Eugenie O'Kin, presumably given to Dessau at the World Exhibition in 1925.
The right light
While on the subject of the World Exhibition, 1925 was the same year that the master of lighting Poul Henningsen made his début. He enjoyed a versatile career as an architect, cultural critic and revue writer, but it was his lamps from the 1920s that made him famous. He grew up in the early days of electricity and, from a very young age, he began to come up with complicated theories on lighting. His “attempt to tame electric light” was accomplished at the Exhibition in 1925 in the form of the first anti-glare three shade PH-lamp, for which he received the prestigious gold medal. Over the following decades, he developed countless different versions of the lamp, and today, PH is the epitome of modern lighting. A number of very early, rare versions will light up the auction – including the “PH-5/3” floor lamp, the “PH-2/2” piano lamp and “PH-Septima 4”.
One of a kind in Danish furniture design
One of the most original and uncompromising architects in Danish furniture design is the slightly later Peder Moos. Like the proponents of Art Deco, he focused on details as a decorative element and an exclusive expression, managing to bring out the wood’s organic and natural character like no other. Given the age he lived in, when machinery was increasingly being used in cabinetmakers’ workshops, he is considered something of an anachronism. He maintained the age-old traditions of craftsmanship, remaining true to the workbench and hand drill – even refraining from using screws! Obviously, this method was extremely time-consuming and costly, which is why most of his production was unique pieces, made to order – including the auction’s tea table, which he made for the Danish Embassy in Washington in 1956, a sewing table and a wall cabinet.
Auction: 3 pm on Thursday 6 March at Bredgade 33, Copenhagen
Preview: 20–24 February at the same address