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Poul's Four-poster Bed and Finn's Chieftain Chair: Danish Design Treasures up for Auction

Press Release   •   Sep 12, 2018 11:12 GMT

This unique four-poster bed by Poul Henningsen can be seen at Bruun Rasmussen's international preview from Thursday 13 September at 3 pm.

A unique four-poster bed by Poul Henningsen and Finn Juhl's iconic "Chieftain Chair" are among the highlights when Bruun Rasmussen swings the hammer over rare furniture pieces and design classics in Copenhagen this September.

As we unveil the autumn auction in Copenhagen, you will find a large selection of Danish design furniture from the period 1920-70. The selection offers both classics from Nordic designers as well as some surprises in the shape of rare furniture pieces from the early years of Danish design's golden age.

One of these extraordinary pieces is a unique blue and white painted four-poster bed designed by Poul Henningsen around 1926. The bed with the baluster columns was made to order for PH's in-laws at Dronninglund Castle in Northern Jutland, where he supervised the refurbishment of the Castle’s stable and agricultural buildings.  Since then, the four-poster bed has been in private Danish ownership but was exhibited at the "Kunsten" Museum of Modern Art in Aalborg in connection with the 100th anniversary of the architect.

"With his outstanding lighting abilities, Poul Henningsen is a frequent guest at our auctions, but this time we have also managed to consign a unique blue and white painted four-poster bed from around 1926. PH was extremely productive in these early years of his career, and at the ”International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts” in 1925, he presented his first variation of the PH lamp, which has become one of the great milestones in Danish design history. What is much less known is that PH also designed a handful of furniture pieces in the 1920s, including this four-poster bed. The bed provides a valuable insight into the designs that PH worked with in the early period of his career," says Peter Kjelgaard, Head of the Modern Design Department at Bruun Rasmussen.

Classics by Flemming Lassen and Finn Juhl

The auction also includes a wide range of design treasures by Flemming Lassen, such as a sofa made in 1942 and a rare armchair with the peculiar name "The Hussar" from 1935. Finn Juhl's best and most well-known furniture classics have also found their way to the auction, such as the “Chieftain Chair” from 1948. The chair is regarded as the flagship in Juhl’s oeuvre. The elegant piece of furniture is inspired by everyday items and weapons from Africa and Oceania and was made with Juhl’s steady partner Niels Vodder. The name of the chair comes from an incident involving the Danish King Frederik IX, who sat in the chair at the Cabinetmakers’ Guild Exhibition in 1949. When Juhl was subsequently asked by a journalist, if the chair was now going to be called the "King’s Chair", Juhl replied: "I’d rather, you call it the Chieftain Chair."

Extraordinary Art Deco Chairs

At the auction, Bruun Rasmussen also offers two extraordinary chairs attributed to the architect Henning Hansen from approximately 1928. Hansen is best known for his buildings, such as the Town Hall of Frederiksberg, while his work as a furniture architect is far less known to the public. Originally, Hansen was trained as a cabinetmaker in Odense, but he continued his education and became an architect in the early 1900s at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen. After his graduation, he travelled around Europe and became associated with the École Francaise d'Athènes (The French School of Athens) in Greece, where he participated in the excavations of one of the religious hubs of classical antiquity on the island of Delos. 

"Hansen’s two chairs at the auction are clear representatives of Art Deco – a style characterized as a conglomerate of inspirational sources, ranging from the avant-garde movement's focus on geometry to the many historic excavations being done at the time," says Peter Kjelgaard.

Auction and Preview

Come by the preview in Bredgade 33, Copenhagen, from the 13-17 September. Besides being an opportunity to get a closer look at potential design purchases, there is also the chance to ask questions of the experts from Bruun Rasmussen's design department. The preview opens Thursday afternoon with a presentation by Head of the Design Department, Peter Kjelgaard, at 2 pm. At 3 pm the same day the rest of the preview will open for everyone. The auction itself will be held on 27 September.

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 and daily online auctions. Here you can bid on everything from art, antiques, modern design and jewellery to books, coins, stamps, wine and weaponry.