Finn Juhl, ‘Sofa’, designed 1951, Phillips

Manufactured by Baker Furniture, Inc., Grand Rapids, USA.

From the Catalogue:
Hollis M. Baker, owner of Baker Furniture, Inc., in Grand Rapids, Michigan, selected Finn Juhl to design a series of furniture, which included the present sofa model. The May 1952 issue of arts & architecture addressed the contemporary furniture market in a special feature titled ‘New Furniture’, focusing on the ‘Good Design Exhibition’ in Chicago, where “the exhibitors, many of whom had never produced anything but traditional furniture, were now showing the work of top-flight modern designers”. Juhl was an obvious choice by Baker to represent the company as a modern designer considering the international recognition he had received for his designs exhibited at the Cabinetmakers’ Guild in Denmark. In her essay ‘Working for Finn Juhl’ Marianne Riis-Carstensen, an interior designer and close colleague of Finn Juhl, discussed the collaboration with Baker Furniture and stated: “as a result of that relationship, “Danish Design” made its entry in to the United States and became very popular” (Patricia Yamada, ed., Finn Juhl Memorial Exhibition, exh. cat., Osaka, 1990, p. 117). Juhl went on to design the Trusteeship Council Chamber at the United Nations Headquarters, New York, awarded by the fellow of The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. Another American advocate of Juhl’s work was Edgar Kaufmann, Jr., director of the Industrial Design Department of the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Kaufmann, Jr. worked with Juhl extensively as a patron and lifelong friend. In his essay, ‘Product and Process’, he reflected upon the masterpieces of modern design created by Juhl: “His forms are masterful, now as when they were new. They are capable of a plenitude of embodiments still unexplored. Juhl is no performer, he is a creator. We need more of him” (Ibid, Finn Juhl Memorial Exhibition, p. 13). The prototype of the present model sofa, executed by the doyen of Danish cabinetmakers Niels Vodder, was first exhibited at the 'Copenhagen Cabinetmakers’ Guild' in 1951. Finn Juhl’s adherence to sculptural form, great appreciation of the tradition of Danish cabinetmaking, and construction techniques were all retained and applied by the innovative manufacturing of Baker Furniture.
Courtesy of Phillips

Dansk Kunsthåndværk, no. 11, November 1951, p. 188
Eva Hamilton, 'Modern design iG Gammal miljö', Svensk DAM, no. 11, 18 March 1964, p. 41
Grete Jalk, ed., Dansk Møbelkunst gennem 40 aar, Volume 3: 1947-1956, Copenhagen, 1987, p. 199
Esbjørn Hort, Finn Juhl: Furniture, Architecture, Applied Art, Copenhagen, 1990, pp. 13, 46
Patricia Yamada, ed., Finn Juhl Memorial Exhibition, exh. cat., Osaka, 1990, pp. 60-61
Per H. Hansen, Finn Juhl and His House, Ostfildern, 2014, p. 56

Private collection, New York
Acquired from the above by 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