Lot 470
  • 470

Hans Wegner

50,000 - 70,000 USD
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  • Hans Wegner
  • A Rare "Roman" Chair, Model No. JH522
  • with producer's metal tag 
  • oak, orignal leather upholstery


Johan Møller Nielsen, Wegner: en dansk møbelkunstner, Copenhagen, 1965, p. 77
Grete Jalk, ed., Dansk Møbelkunst gennem 40 aar, vol 4: 1957-1966, Copenhagen, 1987, pp. 122-123
Christian Holmsted Olesen, Wegner: just one good chair, exh. cat., Design Museum Denmark, Copenhagen, 2014, p. 143


Overall in good condition. The wood surfaces present with minor surface scratches, nicks and some minor abrasions, consistent with age and gentle use and mostly concentrated to the lower portions of the legs. The original leather upholstery with very light wear mostly to top of backrest and front edge of seat, consistent with age and natural wear occurring in this material over time and use. The seat with a slight loosening to the leather in the center, consistent with use and visible in the catalogue illustration. The silk dust cover of the chair underside with some tears along the edges and later black tape over the nail mounting of the dust cover. To the proper left end side of the left side backrest one can notice two small areas of white paint, (each approx. ¼ in.). The original leather has been well cared for, with evidence of polishing to the upper arms to prevent drying through the years. The 'Roman' chair has a dramatic back curve of the chair rail which was expensive and complicated to upholster, in turn resulting in limited production. Incredibly thoughtful and meticulously designed, the chair presents exceptionally well overall.
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.

Catalogue Note

Hans Wegner’s modern vision and Johannes Hansen's exceptional craftsmanship were once again praised in their stand at the 1960 Cabinetmakers' Guild Exhibition.  In Wegner's design for a conference room, themes of modernity, masculinity and quiet simplicity were prevailing.  As the modern day work environment transformed to meet the needs of a rapidly changing post-war era of business, furniture design in these spaces developed as well.  It was considered "affluent to have good design in the work place…and furniture was very carefully selected."  The following two lots, a work table and 'Roman' chair, reflect a "thoughtfully healthy" design, heavy yet sturdy, simplistic yet meticulously planned.  In Wegner's work table, the joint supports which meet the table top are replaced with angular stainless steel brackets.  This sleek and subtle detail adds an element of boldness to a sturdy, controlled form. 

As the perfect pairing to this structured table, Wegner's "Roman" chair demonstrates a powerful stance.  Equally well designed and constructed, the "Roman" chair both contrasts, yet subtly compliments, the structured right angles of the table with a dramatic curve of the back rail.  This dynamic curve was expensive and complicated to upholster, in turn resulting in limited production.  As one of the final installments by Wegner on his 'horned' themed chairs, the model is often also referenced as the "Buffalo" chair, demonstrating a modulation from the "Cowhorn" and "Bullhorn" designs of the 1950s.  Lastly, but possibly most significantly, Wegner draws inspiration from antiquity for the form. Known for developing historical furniture themes from foreign countries (i.e., his "China" chair of 1944), Wegner this time sources inspiration from Antiquity.  The "U" form seat, often found in ancient Roman chairs, is now transferred to the back rail allowing the sitter to comfortably rest his or her arms.  Additionally, in these traditional chairs, the width of the legs was in equal proportion to the width of the arms.  A design element echoed in Wegner's "Roman" chair, this stance conveys a position of power and confidence-- the perfect pairing for a conference room.  Incredibly thoughtful and meticulously designed, it is said that Wegner and Hansen perfected these designs over the course of four years.