TEFAF 14 / Design

Last week, I went to the European Fine Art Fair (TEFAF) in Maastricht, one of the most important and renowned art fairs in the world, packed with blue-chip pieces only affordable for the ‘high and ultra high net-worth individuals’ (HNWIs & UHNWIs), those who have more than $10 and $30 million in liquid assets respectively. According to the TEFAF Art Market Report 2014, dealers make 33% of their total sales through art fairs like TEFAF. The range of artworks on offer at TEFAF is really overwhelming: antiques, Old Masters, modern and contemporary art, prints and works on paper, jewelery and design. This latter section, which did not become part of the fair until 2009, fulfills the growing interest in 20th Century Design, specially mid-century American design and Scandinavian design. Three galleries of the 10 taken part in the design section caught my eye: Éric Philippe, Sebastian + Barquet and Dansk Møbelkunst. Éric Philippe showed two beautiful pieces, a cabinet and a table, by the Swedish architect Axel Einar Hjorth who, from 1929 onwards, blended Sweden`s rural tradition with modernism. I love the simplicity of their design and the restrained beauty of the material (pine). Sebastian + Barquet presented work by designers who lived and worked in New Hope, Pennsylvania. Inspired by the picturesque natural surroundings of that area in the US, designers like George Nakashima conceived his furniture from the natural form of the wood and its irregularities. In pieces like the Cross-legged Desk of 1987, he created dramatic contrasts between the free-form wood and his impeccable craftsmanship. Dansk Møbelkunst is a gallery specialized in original Danish furniture from the 1920s to the 70s, characterised by high standards of craftsmanship and an extensive use of wood. Ole Wanscher is represented by his T-Chair made of rosewood and leather. Reading about Wanscher, until now completely unknown to me, I learnt that he was a pupil of Kaare Klint, the founder of modern Danish design: a blend of traditional craftsmanship, historical inspiration and the modernist functionality and lack of ornamentation. Klint designed in 1914 one of the most beautiful chairs I have come across lately, the Faaborg Chair. Dansk Møbelkunst also showed works by the master of lighting design Poul Henningsen and some elegant pieces by Poul Kjærholm, such as a set of 6 PK 9 dining chairs and a triangular-base variant of the quadrangular table PK 54. Contrary to his Danish contemporaries, Kjærholm`s favourite primary material was steel that he combined with leather (PK 9 chairs), marble (PK 54 table) or cane (PK 24 lounge chair).

                                                                                                               

GALERIE ÉRIC PHILIPPE

PARIS

Eric Philippe Gallery

Axel Einar Hjorth

Right – Two-door Cabinet / c. 1932 / Swedish pine

Left – Occasional Table / 1929 / Swedish pine

Hojorth_Cabinet + table

                                                                                                             

SEBASTIAN + BARQUET GALLERY

NEW YORK

↓ George Nakashima

Cross-Legged Desk / 1987 / Walnut & French olive ash (top)

Sebastian + Barquet Gallery

                                                                                                             

DANSK MØBELKUNST GALLERY

COPENHAGEN & PARIS

Dansk Møbelkunst Gallery

 ↓ Larsen & Madsen

Armchair / 1951 / Teak & original cane

e. larsen & a.b. madsen_Armchair

↓ Poul Kjærholm

A rare variant of the table PK54 with triangular base / 1974 / Cipollino marble & steel

Table PK54↓ Poul Kjærholm`s PK54 /1959

PK54↓ Poul Henningsen

Tennis Lamp / 1927 / metal & glass

Tennis Lamp↓ Poul Kjærholm

Set of 6 PK9 Dining Chairs / 1960 / steel & leather

SET OF 6 PK9 DINING CHAIRSOle Wanscher

T-Chair / 1957 / Rosewood & leather

Wanscher_T-Chair

To conclude, I include a picture of the beautiful Faaborg Chair, designed by Kaare Klint for the visitors of the Faaborg Museum in Denmark in 1914. According to the manufacturer, Rud. Rasmussen, the chair was ‘originally produced in mahogany with a French canework seat, sides and back so as not to entirely obstruct the view of the gallery`s beautiful mosaic floor. Since 1964, however, the chair has been manufactured with a fixed padded seat’.

Klint_Faaborg Chair

Faaborg Museum

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