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Poul Henningsen 'PH', Early Table Light, 4/3 Amber Shades, Pat. Appl, 1929

About

Poul Henningsen (1894 Ordrup, Denmark 1967) Table light, special commission 4/3 amber shades Frame with three cast iron legs marked "Pat. Appl" Manufactured by Louis Poulsen, Copenhagen Plaque on lamp base: "Fester & Andersen / 1919 - 1 April 1929 This lamp with it's magnificent hand-blown amber shades and all original parts was specially commissioned. This very early, metal frame was the earliest rendition of the later, more malleable wire frame PH designed for his patented, 3 shade lamp system. The smaller, wire frame was a technological "break-thru" for Henningsen thus allowing him to design smaller lamps which can be used in the home - his ultimate goal. Bibliography: Grete Jalk, ed., Dansk Møbelkunst gennem 40 aar, Volume 1: 1927-1936, Copenhagen, 1987, p. 107; Grete Jalk, ed., Dansk Møbelkunst gennem 40 aar, Volume 2: 1937-1946, Copenhagen, 1987, pp. 93, 129; Tina Jørstian and Poul Erik Munk Nielsen, PH 100 Light & Design, exh. cat., Danish Museum of Art & Design, Copenhagen, 1994, pp. 5, 8, 21-22; Tina Jørstian and Poul Erik Munk Nielsen, eds., Light Years Ahead: The Story of the PH Lamp, Copenhagen, 2000, pp. 147-50, 200, 201; Erik Steffensen, Poul Henningsen, Denmark, 2005, pp. 10, 23 for an image and A drawing Poul Henningsen (aka “PH”) is considered to be the “Father of Modern Lighting” and was one of the leading figures of the cultural life of Denmark between the World Wars. An architect by training and a writer by profession, PH is perhaps best known for his inventive lighting fixtures designed in the 1920s with a mission of continuous perfection in the decades thereafter and over the course of his lifetime. PH abhorred the relatively new and accessible lighting of the early 20th century and he was initially prompted, as the story is told, to perfect the garish electric ambiance emanating from a bare lightbulb which hung in his mother’s kitchen. Beginning in the late 1910s, PH began theorizing about how to best design a light fixture to adequately illuminate a space with the new incandescent lightbulb. According to PH, the light emitted from electrical lightbulbs was imperfect because of its “cold” nature which, though cheaper, was too harsh and quite unpleasant to work and live with. He argued that this type of light could cause negative health and mood issues. PH also argued that the new, bright lightbulb shone uncontrolled in all directions in an inefficient way, rather than being directed exactly where it was needed. As such, PH took on the task of designing light fixtures that would not only shield the harmful glare of bright electrical light and change the color to warmer tones, but also direct the light to be most energy-efficient and economical, all within an aesthetically-pleasing structure. At the 1925 Paris Exhibition, with the help of the manufacturer Louis Poulsen (who continued to produce PH’s designs until his death), PH’s (together with Knud Sørensen) “Paris Lamp” made of six shades in German silver was awarded the fair's gold medal. While this prototype did not completely resolve all of PH’s noted glare issues, it was an earnest start and he subsequently succeeded with its successor the “PH lamp”. This design, made up of three shades originally in copper with painted undersides resolved PH’s idea that a light fixture should efficiently direct or diffuse light, provide a warmer color of light and eliminate the glare. A slightly modified version of the PH lamp using hand-blown opal glass with sand-blasted undersides was then designed in June 1926. This material allowed approximately 12% of the light to diffuse through the glass and created a more versatile use for the lighting fixture, moving its function away from simply a downward facing lamp. Though a loosely-phrased patent was submitted in December 1924, it continued to be revised as PH modified the PH system until the final patent was published in May 1928. This lamp is dated from that period. PH continued to toy with the “PH lamp,” adjusting the lampshade sizes, materials, and colors as well as experimenting with other designs, all based on the concept of properly distributing and altering light to make it more pleasant and efficient. He was also very interested in the color of light on one’s environment and mood. Amber hand-blown glass - being among the most expensive materials used by PH - best approached his desire to mimic the soft, pleasant glow from candle light.

Details

  • Creator
    Louis Poulsen (Manufacturer),Poul Henningsen (Designer)
  • Dimensions
    Height: 23.63 in. (60 cm)Diameter: 7.29 in. (18.5 cm)
  • Style
    Mid-Century Modern (Of the Period)
  • Materials and Techniques
  • Place of Origin
  • Period
  • Date of Manufacture
    1929
  • Condition
    Wear consistent with age and use. Diameter of Top Shade: 40 cm.
  • Seller Location
    New York, NY
  • Reference Number
    Seller: DD14491stDibs: LU3653311214921

Shipping & Returns

  • Shipping
    Rates vary by destination and complexity.
    Ships From: New York, NY
  • Return Policy

    This item cannot be returned.

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About Poul Henningsen (Designer)

The name Poul Henningsen is synonymous with the best and most innovative modern Scandinavian lighting. The Danish designer created a signature vocabulary of fixtures with tiered and layered shades in sculptural arrangements that are at once naturalistic and geometric. 


Henningsen grew up in a town on the outskirts of Copenhagen and studied architecture at the Technical University of Denmark. He would become a noted art critic, journalist and screenwriter, but his first love was lighting design. Henningsen’s childhood home was illuminated by oil lamps. When his family switched to electrified lighting, he was alarmed and repelled by the harsh glare cast by an incandescent bulb, and in his late teens he began conducting quasi-scientific experiments to measure which materials and methods best diffused or reflected light to give it a warm brightness. His work came to the attention of the lighting-fixtures firm Louis Poulsen, which sponsored the development of a prototype lamp. The design won a gold medal at the 1925 Paris Expositions Internationales des Arts Decóratifs et Industriels Modernes — from which the term Art Deco derives. The lamp, whose three-part shade is said to be inspired by the arrangement of a dinner plate atop a soup bowl atop a teacup, became the basis for Henningsen’s most successful design, the PH 4/3 desk lamp.


All told, Henningsen would design some 100 lighting fixtures in his career. Some of his most notable creations are hanging lamps, which include the “Septima” (1929), a pendant composed of seven graduated frosted-glass layers; the “Spiral” (1942), made of a single ribbon of enameled aluminum; and the “Artichoke” (1958), whose 70 glass or metal fins in a staggered and graduated arrangement on a central steel frame resemble those of its namesake. The last is likely Henningsen’s masterwork and an icon of mid-20th-century design. Like all Henningsen lighting designs, it is striking, sculptural and — thanks to his insistence on the primacy of the quality of the light cast — superbly functional.


About the Seller
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Located in New York, NY
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