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This set of early NV45 chairs by Finn Juhl and Niels Vodder are executed in cognac leather and solid rosewood. The master woodworker Niels Vodder made these two chairs as a pair, meaning they belong together and have always been a pair from the beginning. This pair is made by master woodworker Niels Vodder and is marked on the inside of the frame with both his and Finn Juhl's name. The combination of the rosewood and cognac leather are not only strikingly well balanced and pleasing, but to find this set in these two materials is very rare as they are the most high-quality and luxurious execution of this chair that was ever made. But even more importantly, both the rosewood frame and the leather of this set are in excellent condition. This is especially rare for the cognac leather, as despite its age the leather is still strong and soft. But due to its age, the leather does shows a warm patina that enhances the character of this natural material. It's condition is especially rare as this set was made not long after the first design in 1945. The '45 chair was designed for the exhibition of the furniture makers guild in 1945. It is seen as one of Juhl's masterpieces and it is in this design that Juhl followed the principle of liberating the frame from the seat. According to Juhl, he designed the chair in four hours without any previous drawing. In our in-house restoration studio we have completely checked the chair and have left everything in its original condition except the webbing of the seat in order for the chair to be strong and well constructed. If you wish to receive photos of the restoration of the webbing please do not hesitate to ask more information.
Finn Juhl (1912-1989), born in Denmark, planned on becoming an art historian when he was young. His father decided it would be a better career move if he went to become an architect. After his architecture degree Juhl worked for ten years with Vilhelm Lauritzen. At the age of 33 Finn Juhl opened his own furniture design practice. In the 1940s he designed a number of creations that regenerated Danish furniture design, and broke with the established furniture tradition. Juhl is known as the one of the most important pioneers of Danish design. He was in fact the first Danish furniture designer to gain widespread international recognition his work was vital to spreading the “Danish Modern” concept around the world. His designs are reknown for being exquisitely elegant, refined up until the smallest detail and extremely well executed.
- Hiørt, Esbjørn. Finn Juhl. Copenhagen: The Danish Architectural Press, 1990, p. 34 - 35.
Of the Period
Place of Origin
Date of Manufacture1950-1959
ConditionExcellent. This set of chairs is in excellent, original condition. The leather and rosewood have aged beautifully.
WearWear consistent with age and use
Seat Height17.32 in. (44 cm)
Seller LocationWaalwijk, Netherlands
Number of Items2
About Finn Juhl (Designer)
Along with Hans Wegner, Arne Jacobsen and Børge Mogensen, Finn Juhl was one of the great masters of mid-20th-century Danish design. Juhl was the first among that group to have his work promoted overseas, bringing the character of the nation’s furnishings — and the inherent principles of grace, craftsmanship and utility on which they were based — to an international audience. A stylistic maverick, Juhl embraced expressive, free-flowing shapes in chair and sofa designs much earlier than his colleagues, yet even his quietest pieces incorporate supple, curving forms that are at once elegant and ergonomic.
As a young man, Juhl hoped to become an art historian, but his father steered him into a more practical course of study in architecture. He began designing furniture in the late 1930s, a discipline in which, despite his education, Juhl was self-taught, and quite proud of the fact. His earliest works, designed in the late 1930s, are perhaps his most idiosyncratic. The influence of contemporary art is clear in Juhl's 1939 “Pelican” chair: an almost Surrealist take on the classic wing chair. Critics reviled the piece, however; one said it looked like a "tired walrus." Juhl had tempered his creativity by 1945, when the Danish furniture-making firm Niels Vodder began to issue his designs. Yet his now-classic “NV 45” armchair still demonstrates panache, with a seat that floats above the chair’s teak frame.
Juhl first exhibited his work in the United States in 1950, championed by Edgar Kaufmann Jr., an influential design critic and scion of America’s most prominent family of modern architecture and design patrons. (Kaufmann’s father commissioned Frank Lloyd Wright’s design of the house “Fallingwater.”) Juhl quickly won a following for such signature designs as the supremely comfortable “Chieftan” lounge chair, the biomorphic “Baker” sofa, and the “Judas” table, a piece ornamented with stylish inlaid silver plaquettes. As you will see from the offerings on these pages, Finn Juhl’s furniture — as well as his lighting, ceramics, tableware and accessories — has an air of relaxed sophistication and elegance that is unique in the realm of mid-20th- century design.
1stdibs seller since 2012
Typical response time: 3 hours
Located in Waalwijk, NL
- 20th Century Specialists