It all started in 1939, when Juhl had just dropped out of school from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts’ School of Architecture, and went to work for architect Vilhelm Lauritzen on the construction of the Radio House in Copenhagen. It was long before the trained architect created some of the most iconic pieces in the history of Danish Modern, and before he came to fame. In his spare time, young Juhl designed furniture for private customers, and this was one of these cases. He was asked by cabinetmaker Niels Vodder to design furniture for his booth at the Cabinetmakers’ Guild’s Exhibition, and for that show, he created this set, which Vodder fabricated. With its organic form that look more like sculptures by Jean Arp than pieces of furniture, and the look was sensational and provocative in its day.
When it was brought by a Danish family to the auction house, the original grey wool with blue and white fabric were discovered under the current upholstery, just like seen in the original photograph (below), and that original upholstery was replicate. They will be offered for sale in the December sale at Bruun Rassmusen in separate lots: the sofa is estimated at $238,000-$317,000, the highest estimate placed on a Scandinavian 20th-century furniture piece ever. The original photos include one of the Danish Queen Elisabeth and King Frederik IX sitting on Finn Juhl’s sofa at the Cabinetmakers’ Guild’s Exhibition in 1939; all photos courtesy Bruun Rassmusen.