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Historic Design Treasures Sold at Auction

Press release   •   Mar 06, 2020 15:08 UTC

A rare coffee table by Finn Juhl up for auction.

Iconic furniture from the golden age of Danish design and the latest additions to the treasure chest from aspiring designers were sold side by side at Bruun Rasmussen’s auction for Danish design.

The mood in the saleroom at Bredgade 33 in Copenhagen reached new heights when an incredibly rare Finn Juhl coffee table from 1949 was set to go under the hammer. The folding table of teak wood, Oregon pine and brass achieved a hammer price of DKK 370,000 (€ 64,400 including buyer’s premium) after an intense bidding round and thereby achieved the evening’s highest hammer price. The sculptural coffee table was acquired by Designmuseum Danmark in Copenhagen.

"It is an impressive hammer price for a fantastic piece of furniture. I am happy to see that a small piece of design history can return “home” after 71 years to Designmuseum Danmark, where the table from now on can be enjoyed by all the visitors,” says Peter Kjelgaard, Head of the Department for Modern Design at Bruun Rasmussen.

To the knowledge of Bruun Rasmussen, this is the only example made of the table by the legendary cabinetmaker Niels Vodder – so this is truly a museum piece with a key spot in Danish design history.

The year 1949, where the table was presented at Niels Vodder’s exhibition stand at Cabinetmakers’ Guild Exhibition, represents as a climax in Finn Juhl’s creativity. At the exhibition, several of Juhl’s most sought-after furniture were presented – including "The Chieftain Chair" and "The Egyptian Chair". The exhibition marked the beginning of the international breakthrough for Danish furniture art, since several of the most iconic classics and collaborations between leading architects and cabinetmakers were presented here to the public for the first time.

"Visiting Niels Vodder’s exhibition stand in 1949 would for a design enthusiast be akin to a music lover getting to listen to Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock twenty years later," says Peter Kjelgaard.

The coffee table was one of the exhibition stand’s lesser known furniture pieces, but it is still a clear example of Juhl’s belief that one should let one’s imagination and joy run wild when it comes to shapes, lines and materials.

The table was bought directly at the exhibition in 1949 by the owner of one of Denmark’s leading lighting manufacturers, LYFA, and it has since then been in the ownership of the same family.

A Danish Test Piece

The auction also included the debutant Kristian Rosendahl Strunge with his test piece from March 2019. The furniture piece, a sideboard inspired by Peder Moos' and Finn Juhl's organic approach to design, received a fine hammer price of DKK 62,000 (€ 10,800 including buyer’s premium). Kristian Rosendahl Strunge was awarded a silver medal for the sideboard at his exam at the NEXT school in Copenhagen - the highest recognition a Danish cabinetmaker can receive.

"We are used to looking to the golden age of Danish design in the years 1930-70, when we talk about furniture of a unique quality. Therefore, it is nice to see that the new talent is there to make sure that there is a future for the craft of furniture making, both in Denmark and at our auctions," says Peter Kjelgaard.

Bruun Rasmussen Auctioneers is one of Scandinavia’s leading international auction houses, and one of Denmark’s oldest. It all started on 6 October 1948, when Arne Bruun Rasmussen conducted the first traditional auction in the saleroom at Bredgade 33 in Copenhagen. Today, Jesper Bruun Rasmussen stands at the helm of the family-run business together with the third generation of the family, his son Frederik and daughter Alexa, and the company’s CEO Jakob Dupont.

In 2004, the first online auction was launched, and today the auction house has expanded to include departments in Copenhagen and Aarhus and representations in Sweden, Germany, England, France, Belgium, Luxemburg, Spain, Italy, Thailand and the US. About 100,000 lots are put up for auction each year at the traditional auctions, the daily online auctions and - the latest edition - direct auctions. Here you can bid on everything from art, antiques, modern design and jewellery to books, coins, stamps, wine and weaponry.