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Poul Kjærholm "Bowstring Chair" and Hans J. Wegner "Dolphin Chair"
Poul Kjærholm "Bowstring Chair" and Hans J. Wegner "Dolphin Chair"

Press release -

​Nordic Design Auction in Copenhagen June 2016

At this summer's international design auction at Bruun Rasmussen in Copenhagen we can present three extremely rare furniture pieces from the golden age of Danish design during the 1950s.

One of the design auction’s absolute highlights is Poul Kjærholm’s "Bowstring Chair" that only exists in two examples. It belonged to Kjærholm himself and has been in the architect's family ever since. This is the first time ever that this easy chair is up for auction. The prototype comes from Kjærholm's earliest experiments, where he defined the characteristic design that we see in his stylish steel furniture. With the “Bowstring Chair” Kjærholm pushes the natural properties of wood to the extreme and creates a piece of furniture that is as much a sculpture as a functional object. The chair was never put into production, but it greatly influenced later models by Kjærholm, including the famous easy chair"PK-22".

In the 1950s modern Danish furniture design took the world by storm. Most of the contemporary Danish designers excelled with wood as their material, while Poul Kjærholm eventually gravitated towards steel and leather as his preferred materials. His minimalistic design is strongly inspired by the artist Piet Mondrian and the Bauhaus architects Gerrit Rietveld and Mies van der Rohe. Kjærholm is today regarded as a distinguished Danish representative of international functionalism, but he was also deeply rooted in the Danish design tradition.

The Ultimate Design Trophy

The Danish cabinetmaker and architect Hans J. Wegner has secured a key place in the international history of furniture design with classics such as “The Chair”, “Valet Chair”, “Papa Bear Chair”, “Wishbone Chair” and “Dolphin Chair”. These achievements are in no small degree due to Wegner’s innate sense of the natural properties of wood as a material and his unique sense of design, which both are united in all of his furniture designs.

Included at this summer's design auction we have Wegner's long dolphin chair that undoubtedly is the ultimate design trophy for most furniture collectors. The chair's name comes from its contours, which from the side resembles a leaping dolphin. That idea in itself is well thought out, since the dolphin as a motif is full of positive connotations. In the finest way possible the easy chair captures the many characteristics of the dolphin – it is refined and has a highly intelligent design, while the chair is also a visual treat and extremely comfortable to swim away in after a hard day’s work.

A Unique Bar Cabinet

One of the truly undiscovered gems of Danish furniture design is an extremely unique bar cabinet by professor and architect Kaj Gottlob from 1951. As other significant contemporary architects, Gottlob designed furniture for his houses and collaborated for many years with cabinetmaker A.J. Iversen. Together they designed a limited number of very exclusive cabinet furniture pieces made with the finest craftsmanship, few of which have been presented in public. The model up for auction is perhaps the most sculpted example among these rarities. With the cabinet Gottlob has managed to unite a tight and distinct design with a decorative idiom in the form of the exquisite marquetry. When closed the freestanding cabinet with its sloping sides resembles a sculpture that can be viewed from all sides. When you open the drinks cabinet, it almost resembles a theatre, which creates the perfect stage for mixing a drink. The drinks cabinet was presented at the Copenhagen Cabinetmakers' Guild Exhibition at Designmuseum Danmark in Copenhagen in 1951.

INTERNATIONAL DESIGN AUCTIONBruun Rasmussen Auctioneers, Bredgade 33, Copenhagen, Denmark

Preview: 26-30 May 2016

Nordic Design Auction: 9 June 2016


Press photos

Poul Kjærholm: "Bowstring Chair". Unique easy chair with a frame of ash, mounted with flag halyard. One of only two examples produced. Provenance: Poul Kjærholm, since then his family. Estimate: DKK 300,000-500,000.

Hans J. Wegner: "Dolphin Chair". Foldable easy chair of oak, seat and back made of woven cane, with brass fittings. Model JH 511. Produced in very few examples by cabinetmaker Johannes Hansen, around 1950. Estimate: DKK 400,000-600,000.

Kaj Gottlob: Freestanding bar cabinet of rosewood. Designed in 1951. Produced by cabinetmaker AJ Iversen. Model presented at the Copenhagen Cabinetmakers' Guild Exhibition at Designmuseum Danmark in Copenhagen in 1951. Estimate: DKK 250,000-300,000.

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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