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Finn Juhl-esque coffee table... who made it?

- 07 Dec 2015 -
17 posts / 0 new

We have this very interesting coffee table that we assumed was a hand-made one-off piece influenced by Finn Juhl. However, we recently came across a liveauctioneers listing of the same table. They've attributed it to Finn Juhl, but we're skeptical. There are no makers marks at all on this piece. Any ideas??

(Photo is from liveauctioneers website.)

Finn Juhl-esque coffee table... who made it?
coffee & side tables
1950 - 1959


- 08 Dec 2015

I would stay the simple fact that the OP's table and the liveauctioneers table are neither marked is sufficient to bias one against the already far fetched idea that Niels Vodder made the table. NV appears to have been quite reliable about marking his pieces. To believe that he made it one wants to see a marked piece. And then to believe that Finn Juhl designed it would be quite another bridge beyond. There are quite a few Niels Vodder made pieces that are NOT Finn Juhl designs. (Of course, Finn Juhl's name is spelled with currency symbols by dealers the world over ($$$$ $$$$ is the spelling in the USA I believe) so plenty of Vodder pieces are credited to $$$$ when they aren't his).

I have seen this design before somewhere; a few times probably. If you want to know more about it, I would start by trying to find a marked specimen, which would give you the manufacturer, or perhaps only the country of origin (it might be Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, or a few other things in decreasing likelihood).

Some more photos might help. Drawer sides can be very revealing. As can the undersides of furniture. It is possible with some more photos something might ring a bell for somebody here.

- 08 Dec 2015

The raised edge on occasional tables is pretty common but it's the kind of thing that less knowledgeable dealers or unscrupulous auctioneers zero in on as a singular identifying feature. The edge on your table is not the same as on the Finn Juhl table, and the legs are very different too.

But it's that strange, clunky, single drawer that gets me. I just can't see Finn Juhl ever doing something like (not that I'm a Finn Juhl expert---far from it).

- 08 Dec 2015

Exactly, Spanky. I have three signed Finn Juhl tables and they are completely different. It's obviously not from the same series. It is, though, very well-made, and hand-made. We've had a lot of very high quality Wegner, Juhl, etc furniture and this is well crafted. But who by??

- 08 Dec 2015

More photos, please.

And I am not at all sure what you mean by "hand made." It isn't a very well defined phrase. And in the context of Danish furniture from the 50s and 60s and this table in particular, I have no idea what you mean. You will need to document it for us photographically.

In the most radical sense, "hand made" might mean a piece from Nakashima's studio, where you can see a bit of "imperfection" from the use of hand tools for shaping. Or it might mean what you see in a piece of southeast asian teak furniture, where you can see where the cabinetmaker hand cut pocket holes with a chisel. It also might mean furniture where machine tools were used extensively, but it is the hand of a single craftsman that creates the piece.

Most danish furniture really does not fit under the vague rubric of hand made.

- 08 Dec 2015

It's not yet listed on the main scandinavianmod website. They are usually one of the better attributors in the business.

Then again, so is Wright... usually.

- 08 Dec 2015

OK, I'll get some more photos when I get the piece out of storage. I appreciate your input for sure!

- 08 Dec 2015

Hello who knows this the designer and the manufacturer?

- 08 Dec 2015

We appreciate information on this secretary from Austria.

- 14 Dec 2015

Well I know where the dealer got the information. I am just a little unsure what to make of it.

The Danish Furniture Index shows a photo of the FJ56 sofa with this coffee table in front of it. And comments that the coffee table is FJ53. However, the coffee table is NOT independently listed in the DFI. And the cabinetmakers guild exhibition photos from 1953 do not show the coffee table in Niels Vodder's booth, which is where it would be, presumably, if it were a FJ53.

Additionally, the media source lists the Lunning catalog. And the Lunning catalog has both the sofa and the coffee table listed as designed by Finn Juhl. But no model numbers. However the letter code does indicated Niels Vodder as the maker.

- 14 Dec 2015

Wow, thank you! That is great that you found that information. Thank you for sharing.

So.... it looks possible that it's Finn Juhl, and likely that it's a Niels Vodder-made piece in any case. Very interesting! I love chasing down these mysteries. I'll post more photos after the holidays. The dovetails are clearly hand-cut and finer than you normally see.

Thanks again for posting this information!

- 02 Sep 2016

Some more backup for both Vodder and Juhl. The Lunning spread in Furniture Forum 1959 has two pages of Finn Juhl for Niels Vodder pieces. It would be odd to have a single coffee table item in the spread that was not designed by Juhl.

- 02 Sep 2016

Thank you! Yes, we pretty much confirmed it's Juhl. Thanks for the scan!

- 03 Sep 2016

I would still like to see more photos of the table in question.

The legs of the of the old photos of this table seem to splay outward. The OP's table appears to have vertical legs.

Also, I am still bothered by the fact that this table is unmarked, as that is not at all like Niels Vodder.

- 12 Jan 2017

Two updates:

1) As noted earlier in the thread, scandinavianmod has this table, which happens to have a two-line Niels Vodder mark on it (photos attached). They also provided a scan of a Danske Kuntshandvaerk magazine which shows the same staged photo as above posts, and credits FJ as the designer. However for a long time, I had never seen a definitive Finn Juhl designed piece with the two-line NV stamp.

By the way, that corner drawer profile with the hand-cut dovetails is striking.

- 12 Jan 2017

until today. . .

2) As I was flipping through an old auction listing for a NV Chieftain chair, I noticed the stamp for it only had two-lines without mention of Finn Juhl. While this does not provide absolute evidence that the coffee table was designed by Finn Juhl, it does shoot a hole in the argument that all stamped FJ/NV pieces must have Finn Juhl's name on them.

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