Finn Juhl - Chieftain chair - Dansk Møbelkunst - Design Miami/ The global forum for collectible design
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Finn Juhl

Chieftain chair

This object listing has been archived.

Previously exhibited at Basel 2022.

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The Chieftain chair, presented at the Copenhagen Cabinetmakers’ Guild Exhibition in 1949, is regarded as one of Finn Juhl’s main accomplishments. The present example in teak and original black leather was made in close collaboration with the skilled craftsmen – master cabinetmaker Niels Vodder and upholsterer Ivan Schlechter. Juhl often found inspiration in the shapes of African tribal art and utilitarian objects, as well as in early Egyptian furniture. The chair’s triangular construction, formed by the back posts, the oblique aprons under the seat and the horizontal post supporting the back, is a reworking of a motif known from chairs found in the grave of Tutankhamen, just as the characteristic meeting between the back posts and back rest is a familiar motif from ancient Egyptian furniture. The Chieftain chair is a sizeable chair, yet it does not appear heavy. The distance between the seat and the armrest allows the surrounding space to flow freely between the upholstered elements, just as the frame with its triangular spaces is visually balanced and elegantly finished.

Finn Juhl


Initially, Finn Juhl wanted to become an art historian. Since his early years, he had been interested in fine arts. However, his father wouldn't allow a career in the arts. Instead Finn Juhl enrolled at the Department of architecture at the Royal Academy of Arts in Copenhagen. Finn Juhl began his studies in the 1930s, which was an important period in furniture design, when modern design started to emerge. While he was still a student, Finn Juhl started working with the prominent Danish architect Vilhelm Lauritzen in 1934. At his studio, he worked on major projects such as the Danish Broadcasting House and Copenhagen Airport. Finn Juhl was kept so busy, that he never finished his studies. Despite this, he received the honour of becoming a member of the Academic Architect Society in 1942, and later in life, he became a visiting professor at the Institute of Design in Chicago. At the time when he had made himself a name as a furniture designer, he would always speak of himself as being a selftaught.

One of the international highlights of Juhl’s career was designing the complete interior of the Trusteeship Council Chamber at the UN headquarters in New York between 1951 and 52.

  • Date/


  • Material/

    Leather, Teak

  • Dimension/

    103.0 x 95.0 x 89.0 cm (40.6 x 37.4 x 35.0 in)

  • Ships from/


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