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Finn Juhl: "Chieftain Chair" (1949-50). Sold for: DKK 1.1 million / € 150,000 (including buyer's premium)
Finn Juhl: "Chieftain Chair" (1949-50). Sold for: DKK 1.1 million / € 150,000 (including buyer's premium)

Press release -

Chieftain Sold for DKK 1.1 million

Finn Juhl’s ”Chieftain Chair” exceeded expectations with an impressive hammer price of DKK 1.1 million (€ 150,000 including buyer’s premium) as Bruun Rasmussen Auctioneers of Fine Art concluded the final auction of the year in Bredgade, Copenhagen.

We have not previously sold a ”Chieftain Chair” for this amount here at Bruun Rasmussen, so it was a very good result! The chair certainly does also belong among the most beautiful and iconic Nordic furniture classics, and it is considered the flagship of Finn Juhl’s work. The auction result is a testimony to the fact that this chair has now achieved an international status of being a precious collector’s item”, says Peter Kjelgaard, Head of Bruun Rasmussen’s design department.

Inspired by Indigenous Cultures

The “Chieftain Chair” was designed the Finn Juhl in 1949, and it was produced by his regular collaborator Niels Vodder. This evening’s example was made in teak and upholstered with original, patinated natural leather. As with many of the architect's other furniture pieces the seat, armrest and back are separate from the supporting frame, and the chair's unique shape is inspired by the tools and weaponry used by indigenous cultures from Africa and Oceania.

How the Chair Got Its Name

According to Finn Juhl himself, the chair got its name after Frederik IX sat in it during the Cabinetmakers’ Guild Exhibition in 1949. A journalist subsequently asked Finn Juhl whether the chair should now be called the ”King Chair”, but that was a bit too pretentious for the architect and answered ”Better to call it the Chieftain Chair.”

A Leading Figure within "Danish Modern"

Finn Juhl was originally trained as an architect, but it was furniture design, decorative crafts and interior design that became his main occupation. With his organic, sculptural idiom he renewed Danish furniture design and became one of the most influential figures in the "Danish Modern" design movement. Many have even given him the credit for creating awareness about Danish furniture internationally and being the reason for why Denmark around 1950 was considered one of the world's leading nations when it came to design. His most famous furniture pieces include the "Chieftain Chair","The Poet", "The Pelican" and "FJ 45". His interior design for the Trusteeship Council Chamber at the United Nations Headquarters in New York is today considered an architectural masterpiece and was renovated a few years ago by the two young Danish architects Kasper Salto and Thomas Sigsgaard.



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, France, Belgium, Luxemburg, Spain, Italy, Thailand and the US. About 100,000 lots are auctioned off 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.

Press contacts

Peter Kjelgaard

Peter Kjelgaard

Head of Design Department + 45 8818 1191