HANS WEGNER (1914-2007)
This lot will be removed to Christie’s Park Royal.… Read more
HANS WEGNER (1914-2007)

A RARE AND IMPORTANT 'CHINA' ARMCHAIR, CIRCA 1945

Details
HANS WEGNER (1914-2007)
A rare and important 'China' armchair, circa 1945
executed by master cabinetmaker Johannes Hansen, Copenhagen, Denmark, walnut, leather, brass nailheads
36 1/8 high x 22 7/8 wide x 21 ¼ in. deep (91.8 x 58 x 54 cm.)
Christie's would like to thank Marianne Wegner for her assistance with the cataloguing of this lot.
Literature
Other examples from the suite illustrated:
J. Møller Nielson, Wegner en Dansk Møbelkunstner, Copenhagen, 1965, p. 35;
B.B. Laursen, S. Matz and C. Holmsted Olesen, Mesterværker: 100 års dansk møbelsnedkeri, Copenhagen, 2003, p. 128;
C. H. Olesen, Wegner: just one good chair, exh. cat., Design Museum Denmark, Copenhagen, 2014, p. 117.
Special notice

This lot will be removed to Christie’s Park Royal. Christie’s will inform you if the lot has been sent offsite. Our removal and storage of the lot is subject to the terms and conditions of storage which can be found at Christies.com/storage and our fees for storage are set out in the table below - these will apply whether the lot remains with Christie’s or is removed elsewhere. Please call Christie’s Client Service 24 hours in advance to book a collection time at Christie’s Park Royal. All collections from Christie’s Park Royal will be by pre-booked appointment only. Tel: +44 (0)20 7839 9060 Email: cscollectionsuk@christies.com. If the lot remains at Christie’s it will be available for collection on any working day 9.00 am to 5.00 pm. Lots are not available for collection at weekends.
Sale room notice
Please note that the existence of two armchairs and four matching side chairs of this model has been identified since the publication of the catalogue note for this lot.

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Lot Essay

In 1937, while attending Copenhagen’s School of Arts & Crafts, Wegner was exposed to a Chinese chair, circa 1800, that had recently been acquired by the city’s Applied Arts Museum. With distinctive yoke-shaped top-rail and central, ergonomically-shaped back splat and outswept arms, the design was remarkable for its assembly, which dispensed with glues or screws to instead rely upon skilled and secure jointing for rigidity. For the nascent cabinetmaker, the stylistic and constructional properties of this chair were to prove inspirational, and from 1944 onwards Wegner began to investigate the first of several variations of Chinese-inspired chairs.

The influence of Chinese furniture upon European design has endured since the opening of trade routes in the sixteenth century. Foremost amongst China’s European trading partners was Britain, and by the early eighteenth century domestic British furniture had become influenced by Chinese models, including, by the 1720s, chairs that heavily referenced the exact same model that Wegner observed, and was influenced by, some two centuries later. However, it is most probably through the educating influence of Kaare Klint that Chinese design, by way of eighteenth century Britain, began to exert a deeper influence upon a new generation of Danish designers. In his capacity as founding tutor at Copenhagen’s Royal Academy, Klint promoted an understanding of the materials, to include rosewood, mahogany and oak, the expert cabinet-maker construction, and the furniture types of eighteenth century Britain, securing examples that could be exhibited to benefit his student’s education and understanding. Through Klint’s enthusiasm and expertise, an acceptance and understanding of Chinese models began to permeate into the consciousness of a new generation of Danish furnituremakers, designers, and ceramicists, representative samples of which are offered in this and the following 9 lots.

The present lot is a rare, early and important example of Wegner’s fascination for Chinese chairs. Designed and made in 1944, this example originally formed part of a set of eight, that included four armchairs and four side chairs. Of this set, two armchairs and all four side chairs are now lost. Only one other example of the armchair is known to exist, however that example no longer retained the original close-nailed leather seat that remains preserved intact on this example.

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