Press release -
A Well-kept Secret in Danish Design History
Furniture of exotic wood and sculptures of driftwood – at this summer's design auction we are exploring new areas of the design world. This is due to the Danish architect Jacob Hermann (1910-1995), who, until now, has not been known outside a very narrow circle of connoisseurs.
“Jacob Hermann’s furniture stands apart from what you normally associate with Danish design. With a raw and distinctive expression in the pieces, they appear as a refreshing response to the stringent furniture classics of the more well-known names in Danish design history,” says Peter Kjelgaard, head of the design department at Bruun Rasmussen Auctioneers.
An Uncompromising Approach to Design
In many ways, one can compare Hermann with another eccentric within Danish furniture design – Peder Moos. Their common starting point was a lifelong fascination of wood as a material, and they were as uncompromising as any in their approach to design and craftsmanship. You can say that with Hermann and Moos, the boundaries between furniture and sculpture were broken down. But even though they had a common starting point, the results of their efforts were widely different.
Moos' approach to design was as a cabinetmaker, and his extreme control of the craft led to the most sublime and formidable furniture pieces, where nothing was left to chance. Hermann was a cabinetmaker as well, but he was also educated later on as an architect at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen. Unlike Moos, Hermann let the wood determine the shape of the furniture. In order to promote the organic and living quality of the wood, he often went as far as to leave some of the material unprocessed in his furniture.
American Inspiration and Dovetail Joints
With his unusual approach, Hermann is a unique figure in Danish design history, but in international terms there are a few other designers who inspired Hermann. Most importantly, the famous American architect George Nakashima who in a similar manner worked with a raw and unprocessed idiom. Another distinctive feature of both Hermann and Nakashima are the visible dovetail joints, the function of which is to prevent the wooden boards from breaking, but at the same time they provide a beautiful and prominent appendix on the furniture. Hermann lived most of his life on the west coast of Jutland, and in the midst of this often harsh environment he created his unique furniture during the 1960s and 1970s. Most of the pieces were created without a commercial purpose and were instead made for his family and close friends. The auction includes six of Hermann's works – tables and benches of Caucasian walnut and Bubinga wood, as well as two sculptures made of driftwood.
Preview & auction
Bruun Rasmussen Auctioneers, Bredgade 33, Copenhagen
Preview: 24-28 May
Auction: 4 June at 4 pm
Jacob Hermann: A unique table of solid Caucasian walnut. Organic top mounted on T-shaped legs, rail with small, carved compartment with door of black ebonised wood. Made and signed 1972 by Jacob Hermann, stamped monogram. H. 70 cm. L. 200 cm. W. 40/62 cm. Estimate: DKK 60,000-80,000 (€ 8,050-10,500).
Jacob Hermann: A unique table bench of solid Caucasian walnut. Rounded top with visible joints, mounted on two pillar legs. Made and signed 1972 by Jacob Hermann, stamped monogram. H. 45 cm. L. 180 cm. W. 31 cm. Estimate: DKK 30,000-40,000 (€ 4,050-5,350).
Jacob Hermann: Sculpture carved from giant pine driftwood. Square, pierced base with organic shape with red painted groove. Marked with brass plaque. Unique. Made approx. 1983 by Jacob Hermann. H. 104 cm. Estimate: DKK 25,000 (€ 3,350)
Jacob Hermann: Wall mounted sculpture in the shape of a fox, carved from driftwood in organic shape. Eyes with inlays of mahogany and ebony. Unique. Made 1972 by Jacob Hermann, stamped monogram. H. 34 cm. W. 19 cm. D. 15 cm. Estimate: DKK 10,000 (€ 1,350)
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.