Finn Juhl, ‘Pair of 'Chieftain’ armchairs, model no. FJ 49 A’, designed 1949-executed 1950s, Phillips

Each: 93 x 100 x 90 cm (36 5/8 x 39 3/8 x 35 3/8 in.)
Executed by cabinetmaker Niels Vodder, Copenhagen, Denmark.

From the Catalogue:
Primarily known as the ‘Chieftain’, Juhl personally preferred to refer to the present design as the ‘Big Chair’. The ‘Chieftain’, when first exhibited at the Cabinetmakers’ Guild in 1949, was well received and described in the Danish daily broadsheet newspaper Politiken 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.” The ‘Chieftain’ armchair’s handcrafted stiles support the shield-formed backrest whilst elegantly revealing the space between the seat and legs. Although the collaboration between Juhl and cabinetmaker Niels Vodder began in 1937, it was not until the breakthrough period of 1944-1949 at the Cabinetmakers’ Guild in which Juhl began to incorporate his burgeoning organic approach towards furniture design. The synergy of these two artistic characters resulted in masterpieces of twentieth-century design. In discussing Niels Vodder, the Danish architectural journalist Henrik Sten Møller noted: “The reason why Niels Vodder became Finn Juhl’s cabinetmaker was that nobody else wanted to produce his furniture. They thought the furniture too strange and furthermore often technically complicated.”
Courtesy of Phillips

Svend Erik Møller and Viggo Sten Møller, Dansk Møbelkunst, Københavns snedkerlaugs møbeludstilling 1927-1951, Copenhagen, 1951, p. 82
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, fig. 2, p. 311 for a technical drawing and images
Esbjørn Hiort, Finn Juhl: Furniture, Architecture, Applied Art, Copenhagen, 1990, pp. 23, 40-41
Martin Eidelberg, ed., Design 1935-1965: What Modern Was, New York, 1991, p. 187
Noritsugu Oda, Danish Chairs, San Francisco, 1996, pp. 92-93 for a technical drawing and images
Arne Karlsen, Danish Furniture Design: in the 20th Century, Volume 2, Copenhagen, 2007, pp. 106, 187-89

CEO's office, Apothekernes Laboratorium (later Xellia Pharmaceutics), Oslo, 1950s

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