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Saturday, March 5, 2011

Hans Wegner

Hans Wegner (1914-2007) was born in Denmark and worked as a child apprentice to cabinetmaker H. F. Stahlberg. After serving in the military, he attended the Danish School of Arts and Crafts and then the Architectural Academy in Copenhagen. He held a strong belief that furniture should be functional and beautiful. He designed over 500 chairs during the course of his career, and he was responsible for making Danish design popular on an international scale.

Wegner worked for Arne Jacobsen for several years and then started his own company in 1943. Most of his chair designs were manufactured by PP Møbler and Carl Hansen & Søn. The Peacock chair, designed in 1947, was given its nickname by Finn Juhl. It has a slatted back rest that fans out to resemble a peacock tail, with flat sections of slats that look like the eyes of a peacock feather. This chair was inspired by the traditional Windsor chair. 

Wegner's breakthrough and major sales success was the Round chair (1949), which is now simply called The Chair. It rose to prominence after being featured on the cover of the American magazine Interiors, which called it "the world's most beautiful chair." The Round chair was used during the Nixon-Kennedy presidential debates, giving it mass exposure. Other well-known Wegner designs are the Shell chair (1948), the Y-Chair (1949), the Cow Horn chair (1952), the Bear chair (1954), the Bull chair (1960) and the Three-Legged chair (1963).

In 1960 Wegner came out with several variations on the Ox chair which came with or without horns and showed a playful side of his designs. "We must take care," he said, "that everything doesn't get so dreadfully serious. We must play--but we must play seriously."


Peacock chair

The Chair

Three-legged Shell chair

CH24 Wishbone or Y chair

Cowhorn chair

Papa Bear chair

Bull chair

Ox chair

To watch a Wegner Peacock chair or The Chair being handcrafted, here are two videos that follow the process from beginning to end.

Peacock chair


  1. Peacock chair....swoon!

  2. All those chairs, each was cooler than the next!

  3. Thanks. Now I know that the chair I lust after is called just that...the chair!

  4. Thanks for sharing! This is so interesting!

  5. THANK YOU! I see various MCM chairs when I hit the garage sales around town but I never knew the names/styles. This is exactly the type of info I have been looking for!

  6. @DFWPhotoguy: Welcome to the blog, neighbor. I live in Fort Worth, and along with my daughter and her husband will be opening a shop in Deep Ellum in the next few days. Come by and see us. The store is on Exposition and is called Mid2Mod, like my blog.

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