Finn Juhl, ‘Chieftain armchair, model no. FJ 49 A’, designed 1949-executed ca. 1960, Phillips
Finn Juhl, ‘Chieftain armchair, model no. FJ 49 A’, designed 1949-executed ca. 1960, Phillips
Finn Juhl, ‘Chieftain armchair, model no. FJ 49 A’, designed 1949-executed ca. 1960, Phillips

Property from a Private Collection, Denmark

Executed by cabinetmaker Niels Vodder, Copenhagen, Denmark.

From the Catalogue:
From 1944 to 1949, Finn Juhl designed some of his finest furniture for the Cabinetmakers’ Guild, held at the Kunstindustrimuseet, Copenhagen. First he created the “FJ 44” dining chair, which was described by one critic as having “a sculptural form which apparently strains the wood to its utmost limits.” Then followed the “FJ 45” armchair which was celebrated for its frame “which is beautifully modeled or organic like a bone,” as stated by Danish architect Erik Herløw in the journal Arkitekten. Each year during this period, Juhl presented designs at the Cabinetmakers’ Guild that were executed by Niels Vodder; the synergy and symbiosis of these two artistic characters resulted in masterpieces of twentieth-century design. Finally in 1949 Juhl designed the present model “FJ 49 A” armchair, which became known as the “Chieftain,” a title rarely used by Juhl, who referred to it as the “Big Chair.” Arguably the apogee of this progression of groundbreaking designs, the “Chieftain” achieved critical acclaim at the Cabinetmakers’ Guild; Politiken described the spry design as being “so full of life that it seems to be almost quivering with vitality. It is expensive and as delicate as a thoroughbred must be.”
Courtesy of Phillips


Esbjørn Hiort, Modern Danish Furniture, New York, 1956, pp. 54-55
Grete Jalk, ed., Dansk Møbelkunst gennem 40 aar, Volume 3: 1947-1956, Copenhagen, 1987, pp. 124-25, 233, 311
Esbjørn Hiort, Finn Juhl: Furniture, Architecture, Applied Art, Copenhagen, 1990, front cover, pp. 23, 40-41

Private collection, Løkken, Denmark, acquired directly from Niels Vodder, early 1960s
Thence by descent to the present owner

About Finn Juhl

One of the pivotal figures of Danish design in the 1940s, Finn Juhl introduced Danish Modern to the world, specifically the United States. As an architect and interior and industrial designer, Juhl was best known for his furniture designs that uprooted traditional historicist styles embellished with ornament and plush prevalent in the late 1930s, instead creating modern furniture along the lines of the International Style. Juhl’s Pelican Chair exemplifies the designer’s incorporation of form with function. The chairs, sumptuously sculptural and organic in form, were inspired by Juhl’s philosophy that “a chair is not just a product of decorative art in a space; it is a form and a space in itself.”

Danish, 1912-1989