Splendid Antiques is delighted to offer a magnificent rare pair of Hans J. Wegner ‘The Chair’ Model JH503 in Teak by Johannes Hansen Denmark Circa 1954, the chairs upholstered in original black leather on teak frames come with the original purchase receipt dated 1954, “The Chair” made history as part of the first ever televised US presidential debate between Kennedy and Nixon.
Provenance: ‘The Dambusters” From Lawrence ‘Benny’ Goodman, 617 ‘Dambuster’ Squadron pilot, the bravery of Benny Goodman’s Lancaster crew who flew 10,000 lb bombs for over 13 hours, encountering enemy planes and flak, to reach their targets. Born in 1920, Benny Goodman joined the Royal Air Force in 1940, and the renowned 617 ‘Dambuster’ Squadron in 1944. He took part in 30 operations including two to sink the German battleship the Tirpitz known by Churchill as ‘The Beast’.
“A chair,” according to Danish designer Hans Wegner “is to have no backside. It should be beautiful from all angles.” This principle guided Wegner in the design of every one of the 500 chairs he developed during his lifetime—100 of which were ultimately put into production. But of all these, just one, his 1949 Round Chair, went on to earn the internationally recognised nickname of “The Chair,” an honour shared by no other design before or since.
Lauded as “the most beautiful chair in the world” on the cover of the American magazine Interiors in 1950, Wegner’s Round Chair—which features a back and armrests made of one continuous wooden semicircle—quickly became a symbol of Danish Modern design, a style characterised by the simplicity of elegant, even graphic lines, function-driven forms, and expert joinery, elevated by centuries of experience in woodworking. A direct response to the sharper, colder chromed metal of the Bauhaus style, The Chair also marked a new era of Danish design’s prominence on a global scale, and helped shape—alongside the work of Arne Jacobsen, Poul Kjaerholm, Finn Juhl and Borge Jorgensen and —the Modern design movement of the 1950s and ’60s. Describing the inspiration behind The Chair, Wegner has said, “We wanted to make something that could only be made by us . . . something typically Danish.”
'The Round One' as Wegner referred to it with his usual provincial modesty, is one of the most famous Danish pieces of furniture - certainly the most distinctly Danish. In its own modest and simple way it sums up the very essence of traditional Danish woodworking and design philosophy. And it is absolutely the most important work of Hans J. Wegner.
With this chair Wegner came into his own right, no longer needing the inspiration from other cultures and designers that had influenced his earlier works. This chair was created in a language of shape and construction that only Wegner spoke and it triggered the first ever, foreign report on Danish design in the American Interiors Magazine. It also became the cornerstone in a wide range of designs, which for more than a decade constituted the core business of several Danish furniture manufacturers, effectively becoming the main force in the great international breakthrough of Danish Modern.
When John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon met in the first ever, televised election debate in 1960, they sat in the Round Chair. It was chosen mainly for its comfort and genuine quality - made in Denmark and shipped to the USA to play an important role in this historic event. Eventually the Americans came up with a new and more telling name for this chair. They called it 'The Chair'.
Condition: These chairs are in the original condition and have never been touched or restored, we prefer them this way, wonderful aged patina.
Width: 24.81” inches / 63cm
Depth: 21.26” inches / 54cm
Height: 29.93” inches / 76cm
Seat Height: 17.33” inches / 44cm
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