HANS WEGNER (Danish, 1914-2007)
Bench for Johannes Hansen, ca. 1950
12"H x 76" W x 17"D; 12" seat
A true pioneer in the advancement of Modern Danish design, Hans J. Wegner (1914 - 2007)
was born in Southern Denmark, the son of a shoemaker. He is accredited as being one of the most influential designers of the twentieth century. As a teenager he worked under the master cabinetmaker H.F. Stahlberg; it was here that Wegner began his strong affinity towards wood, exploring and understanding the material in its entirety. He later moved to Copenhagen to study architecture at the School of Arts and Crafts (1936-1938).
Following his studies, Wegner joined architects Arne Jacobsen and Erik Erik Møller in 1940 to help design the interior furnishings of the City Hall in Aarhus, Denmark. The three story building, combining courtrooms and administrative offices was a remarkable consortium of art, architecture and interior design. Simultaneously, Wegner was working with cabinetmaker Johannes Hansen, an important figure who contributed to disseminating modern design to the Danish public.
In 1943, Wegner opened up his own drawing studio and a year later unveiled a series influenced by chairs found in the Ming Dynasty. One of which was the "Wishbone Chair," produced by Carl Hansen & Søn in 1950, and is widely recognized as one of his most popular and distinguished designs. Wegner went on to design over 500 more types of chairs, becoming a driving force behind Danish modern design. Other iconic pieces include the "Wing" and "Shell" chairs. His work oscillates between organic forms and soft curves, always employing adroit craftsmanship.
Wegner received several noteworthy awards including the Lunning Prize (1951) and The 8th International Design Award (1997). His work is featured in prominent institutions such as the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Neue Sammlung, Munich; among many others.