Hans Wegner Sawbench Chair

Photo thanks to Danish Furniture

I post this chair as a tribute to my father. This was one of his favorite chairs. You don’t need cushions for a comfortable seating. It kept you for hours uninterruptedly very comfortably, even when you are tall (I am 6’4, or 1.90 m). That is a sign of good design.

With his love of natural materials and his deep understanding of the need for furniture to be functional as well as beautiful, Hans J. Wegner (1914) made mid-century Danish design popular on an international scale. He began his career as a cabinetmaker in 1931 and subsequently entered the Copenhagen School of Arts & Crafts. After receiving his architectural degree in 1938, he worked as a designer in Arne Jacobsen and Erik Mølle’s architectural office before establishing his own office in 1943.

With more than 500 different chair designs Wegner is the most prolific Danish designer to date. His international breakthrough and greatest sales success came in 1949 when he designed the Round chair. The American magazine Interiors featured the chair on the cover and referred to it as the world’s most beautiful chair. The chair rose to stardom when used in the televised presidential debates between Nixon and Kennedy in 1960 and has since been known simply as The Chair.

The real beauty of Wegner’s genius must be seen in context with his collaboration with master cabinetmaker Johannes Hansen. The attitude with which Johannes Hansen accepted the young designe’s ideas was the perfect combination between designer and craftsman. Their collaboration went on for many years, and they presented their work at the Cabinetmaker’s show every year from 1941 – 1966.

Rietveld’s Steltman Chair

Rietveld’s Steltman Chair

the chair he designed for the Steltman Jewelry Store

Photo thanks to Rietveld by Rietveld.

To conclude this short series on Rietveld chairs this extra ordinary design made for Steltman Jewelers established in The Hague since 1917.

4 Rietveld Zig Zag Chairs and Table at Christie’s Amsterdam

4 Rietveld Zig Zag Chairs and Table at Christie’s Amsterdam

Photo thanks to Christie’s

This set was designed and made by Gerrit Rietveld for Annie and Carel Bendien, friends of Gerrit. They gave it to a niece where it stayed up to the present day when it was auctioned at Christie’s in Amsterdam.

White Rietveld Red Blue Chair record at Christies Amsterdam

White Rietveld Red Blue Chair record at Christies Amsterdam

Photo thanks to Christie’s

Not many people will know (at least I didn’t know) that before Dutch Chair Designer Gerrit Rietveld painted the Red Blue Rietveld Chair red and blue, inspired as he then must have been by Piet Mondriaan, another member of De Stijl Groep (pronounce as:”the Style Group”) he made several mono colored ones.

Today this white lacquered example has been sold at a Christie’s auction in Amsterdam for a record amount of Euro 264,000, while Christie’s estimate was between Euro 50,000 and 80,000. Please do not forget the extras for Christie’s on top of that amount!,

As I find Christie’s lot note very interesting I will quote it here entirely:

The present chair was designed by Gerrit Th. Rietveld as a special commission for Til Brugman in 1923. De Stijl painter Vilmos Huszar restyled the interior of her house in The Hague using the furniture of his fellow De Stijl member Gerrit Rietveld to complement the interior. In the room a multi-colored end table by Gerrit Th. Rietveld was also included, which was sold on the 16th of November 2004 in these rooms.

The first examples of the Red-Blue chair were constructed of unpainted wood. After Rietveld joined De Stijl the first painted examples of the chair were created. It was not until 1923, the same year that this white version for Til Brugman was executed, that the first example with red and blue was completed. The use of primary colors on the Red-Blue chair was probably inspired by Theo van Doesburg and Vilmos Huszár.

Til Brugman was the first Dutch lesbian avant-garde author, who wrote novels and Dadaistic poems. She became acquainted with many of De Stijl artist through her friend Piet Mondriaan. Although her artistic contributions to De Stijl are minimal, behind the scenes her assistance was more substantial; she mediated in the sales of works of art for (amongst others) Piet Mondriaan and translated many articles for the magazine De Stijl. In some of her novels events from her life with members of De Stijl can be discovered.

On contemporary photographs of her interior can be seen how much the interior was modernized by the restyling of Vilmos Huszár. This chair was thought to be lost, but was recovered from the property of a private collector.

Update August 8, 2008:
Christies changed its lay out in the meantime. The chair UK pnd 264,000 (= US $ 355,724).

Thonet no 14

Thonet no 14

Thonet no 14

My source for this photo: 64 chairs.