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Hans Wegner Johannes Hansen Chair

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Product design
- 09 Mar 2015 -
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Product design

Here's a post for the Wegner enthusiasts out there.


A Wegner chair was listed and quickly sold yesterday on eBay. It had a $500 starting price with reserve, but no "Buy-It-Now" feature. A couple of hours later it was sold for $2500 after the auction was changed to Buy-It-Now. The seller only had two eBay transactions and zero feedback.


Back to the chair, it appeared to be in very good vintage condition, and I thought I recognized it as being an armchair version of Carl Hansen's CH-31, except the seller was showing a Johannes Hansen tag underneath. Upon checking online and in my Wegner 100 chairs book, I could not find a documented CH armchair version of CH-31. In the more comprehensive thumbnail sketch library in the back of the book, there is a JH armchair that looks to be the same chair as on eBay. Unfortunately, the sketch library does not list model numbers, only the maker and year.


As per the book, the armchair was designed in 1951 and made by JH, while the side chair (CH-31) was designed in 1956 and made by CH. I did find a sold 1stDibs listing with both chairs in the same photo, and would be hard-pressed to believe that they are by different makers. The listing itself only references CH and shows one CH label.


Is my above understand correct, in that CH never made an armchair version of CH-31? And does anyone know the model number for this JH chair? There are only two archived listings for this chair under Liveauctioneers, so it clearly doesn't surface very often; let alone in an eBay listing with garage photos and an unknown seller. Thanks.


Designer(s)
Producers
Functions
chairs & stools
Periods
1950 - 1959

Comments

- 09 Mar 2015

That's a cool chair.  Not something I had ever seen before. 

- 09 Mar 2015

JH 525? Might have another number when it's webbing instead of fabric.

- 09 Mar 2015

Thanks. I only did the random JH-5XX searches up to 520 before giving up. I thought that a 1951 design would not have so high a model number.

 

It might also be that there was never an original upholstered option for this chair, and that 525 refers to only the caned version. Not only am I guessing that the green plaid is not original, but the middle front rail detail does not seem designed for an upholstered option.

- 23 Mar 2015

Just an update.

I found the picture below, in an old Bruun-Rasmussen catalog. the description states the model as JH 525, and that the design is from 1959.

As you can see, these chairs variete a little, compared to the chairs shown above. f. ex. the piece of wood between the front legs (don't know the english word for it) are thicker on the last chairs.

I still can't find another model no., so maybe the alterations were made, simply to improve the construction/stability of the chair.

- 23 Mar 2015

That chair drawing (both arm and side versions) is shown in the Wegner book as designed in 1959, but separate from the first chair in this post designed in 1951. In addition to the different angles of the sloped rail-stretchers, the side rails are also different. They are very similar to each other.

Too bad the book gives dates and manufacturer for all the chair drawings, but only model numbers for the select few that get discussed in detail.

- 07 Dec 2015

I've got a couple of updates for this thread:

First, I did some more research over the past month and think I've got all the model numbers figured out for these Wegner "coat hanger" front rail chairs. Due to similarity of features, the below chairs seem to get mixed up a lot in online listings. I've also included some key ID features to help quickly distinguish each one.

CH-31: Carl Hansen, dining side chair, 1956, cane only, thicker side rails with slot for cane, steeper coat hanger front rail, back legs kinked at seat rail; source: Hans J. Wegner's 100 Chairs, pg 85

JH-515: Johannes Hansen, dining arm chair*, 1951, cane or leather, recessed thin side rails, steeper coat hanger front rail, straight back stretcher, back legs kinked at armrest; sources: Hans J. Wegner's 100 Chairs, pg 182; Grete Jalk [ed.]: "40 Years of Danish Furniture Design", vol. 3, p. 174-175

JH-516: Johannes Hansen, lounge arm chair*, 1951, cane or leather, recessed thin side rails, steeper coat hanger front rail, straight back stretcher, back legs kinked at armrest; sources: Hans J. Wegner's 100 Chairs, pg 182; Grete Jalk [ed.]: "40 Years of Danish Furniture Design", vol. 3, p. 174-175.

JH-525: Johannes Hansen, dining arm chair, 1959, leather, thicker side rails with leather wrapped around rail, shallower coat hanger front rail, shallower coat hanger back rail, back legs kinked at seat rail; sources: Hans J. Wegner's 100 Chairs, pg 185; Dansk Kunsthåndværk, no. 7-8, 1958, advertising pages.

JH-526: Johannes Hansen, dining side chair, 1959, oxhide, thicker side rails with leather wrapped around rail, shallower coat hanger front rail, shallower coat hanger back rail, back legs kinked at seat rail; sources: Hans J. Wegner's 100 Chairs, pg 185; Dansk Kunsthåndværk, no. 7-8, 1958, advertising pages.

Magasin du Nord (no model number, but similar to JH 507): Johannes Hansen, arm chair, 1950's, leather, thinner side rails, shallower coat hanger front rail, low side stretchers, downward inclined armrests, exposed wood back of backrest, back legs kinked at seat rail; sources: Wright, Bruun-Rasmussen, Lauritz auction listings

* Note: Since the Wegner book does not have model numbers for this chair, and I have not yet seen the 40 years book reference (obtained from a Bruun-Rasmussen lot), there is the possibility that I've gotten the dining and lounge chair model numbers backwards.

- 07 Dec 2015

So why did I decide to waste my time and figure out all of these chair models half a year after I started this thread?

That's where the second update for this thread comes in. Well, I just got my hands on a teak JH-515 with original oxblood red leather. It is unmarked, was listed as simply a "Danish Armchair" in a recent auction, and no one else recognized it as a Wegner/JH piece. A couple of loose joints will require regluing, and there's plenty of grime on the wood, but the frame members are all structurally sound with no breaks/repairs. Will post photos once wood frame has been re-glued and cleaned up. The leather will remain as is.

Very happy to welcome the third Wegner piece to the household, joining a CH-23 and a JH-501. Not as famous as the first two, but much tougher to find.

- 07 Dec 2015

Gorgeous chair. Nice it has the original leather. I've had good luck with removing original leather, in order to disassemble and re-glue, then putting it right back on. Also makes it so much easier to clean when it is in pieces.

- 13 Dec 2015

Was just looking through a 1958 Dansk Kusthaandvaerk and came across this add for the CH 31 (nr. 31). Although it does not add any new info to this thread, I figured I'd post the picture

- 16 Dec 2015

. . . with above mentioned pages from the "40 Years" volume. No model number reference, but photos of JH-515 cane version dining chairs.

- 01 Jul 2016

While I had finished the re-gluing effort early this year, it took me a little while to figure out what to do with the leather. I ended up simply applying some leather conditioner, which made it much softer but also darkened the color. However, I like the contrast now between the teak and dark red leather. The worn areas at the front pretty much stayed the same. I did not want to try to match color the worn areas to match due to concerns of making it worse.

- 02 Jul 2016

Looks fantastic! Nicely done. I think you made the right call with the leather. Old leather is simply gorgeous.

- 09 Jul 2016

... and finally, vintage catalog verification for the four JH models, including confirmation of 515 being the armchair with 516 for the lounge chair.

- 21 Jul 2016

I'm the odd fellow who's only slightly less excited to come across an uncommon vintage replica, as I am a legitimate chair. This pair just popped up on eBay. The seller has duly noted that they are "in the style of", rather than other less accurate descriptions.

Rather than go for the direct copy of a particular model, the designer of this replica appears to have combined features of the JH-515 and the JH-525, then added some side stretchers to compensate for weaker seat rail joints. Seller says the wood is beech and the upholstery is vinyl.

Ethics aside, not a bad replica effort. Probably harder to find than the real ones.

- 21 Jul 2016

Ha, I saw those on ebay yesterday and my heart fluttered for a moment. Then I thought of this thread and quickly came back to reality. Keep on doing what you do, I for one appreciate it!

- 23 Nov 2016

Another update:

A month ago, I was flipping through the online catalog for one of Wright's upcoming Scandinavian Design auctions. A couple of listings caught my eye, as there were two pairs of caned JH-515 arm chairs in the auctions. The pre-auction estimate for each pair was $10-15K. However, upon a closer look at the three photos provided online, they appeared to be knockoffs for the following reasons:

1. The wood framing cross sections do not look correct. A good example are the armrests, which do not taper to as thin an edge as they should. The “coat hanger” front stretchers also appear to be too boxy in cross section.

2. There are gaps between the “coat hanger” front stretchers and the front rails above, which should not be there.

3. The joint between the armrests and the back stiles are “V” shaped. Wegner did not use “V” joints, and this particular joint for JH-515 should be straight vertical.

4. There are not reveals at the joints between armrests and 1) front legs, and 2) back stiles. Wegner utilized reveals here to acknowledge the joints.

5. The wood does not appear to be old growth Siam teak, which has a darker honey color, or European white oak.

6. While the cane weaving is close, there is a horizontal strand woven at the top and bottom rails of the backrest which should not be there.

So, i wrote down my observations and sent them off to Wright. Richard got back to me fairly quickly, thanked me for writing, and said they would look into it.

- 23 Nov 2016

Over the next 2 weeks, I did not hear anything back, but was able to stop in during a preview session to see the chairs firsthand. What appeared to be knockoffs on a few online photos were obvious knockoffs close up. As can be seen in the detail photos, wood type, joint quality, and framing member elegance were all way off.

As opposed to the "heavily-inspired" green upholstery chairs in post #16, these were intentionally made to deceive people into thinking they were JH-515 chairs. At least there was no fake Johannes Hansen marks on the underside (they were unmarked).

While it took Wright a while, they ended up pulling both lots the day of the auction, and the listings themselves have been removed from the auction archive. It is certainly good that Wright did the the "right" thing, but a little disconcerting that such obvious knockoffs initially made its way past their experts. There were also a couple of other suspect listings in that auction which I will not comment on in this thread.

Hopefully, my next post in this thread will not be on the subject of knockoffs.

- 07 Dec 2016

Another JH-515 knockoff, albeit a different one than above. . . this one for sale on 1stDibs for $4500:

https://www.1stdibs.com/furniture/seating/armchairs/rare-hans-wegner-mod...

This knockoff was fairly easy to spot without seeing details as there are side stretchers right behind the seat rails, which should not be there. I also can't recall ever seeing quarter-sawn oak in a Wegner chair, but could be wrong on that. And who knows whether that dark stain came with the original knockoff, or was an owner addition.

I've notified the dealer of the bad news, and we'll see whether they choose to do the right thing.

- 17 Dec 2016

Update:

The dealer did do the right thing (listing removed), although he probably wishes I never stuck my nose in his business. However, as the chair was on consignment, the news was worse for the consignor than the dealer. Will be interesting to see if this chair pops up on a different sales site in the future. Its fingerprints are very easy to spot.

- 13 Jan 2017

I'm not usually one to pile on (okay, that was a lie), but this update takes an interesting twist that is too good not to post.

The four knockoff chairs pulled from the Wright auction last year have popped back up on eBay. There is now qualification language in the listing that indicates that these may not be Johannes Hansen made chairs, and leaves it up to the buyer to decide.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/322384464988?_trksid=p2060353.m1438.l2649&ssPage...

The interesting twist is that, as per the listing, these chairs may have been previously owned by none other than The Duke, John Wayne. A little Google searching turned up the Architectural Digest photo that the seller mentioned. The photo is not clear enough (for resolution, lighting, and detail) to definitively determine one way or the other. Cane darkens over time, and perhaps the photography lighting/exposure made the wood look darker than it was. If we assume that the Wright/eBay chairs are the same as the ones in this photo (big assumption), there are a few subsequent deductions that can be made:

1) The Duke was snookered by a dealer with knockoff chairs,

2) The Duke was snookered by his interior designer with knockoff chairs,

3) The Duke's interior designer was snookered by a dealer with knockoff chairs,

4) The Duke (and/or his wife) was a cheapskate and knowingly bought knockoffs.

I'd like to think that the chairs in the photo are legit and not the same ones as Wright/eBay.

- 14 Jan 2017

He wasn't a very nice person, so I have to admit this is a snookering I am happy about.

Thanks for the update.

- 13 Nov 2017

Very pleased to update this thread for something other than a knockoff . . .

Even more pleased to have just received a set of four all-teak JH-525s today from a shipper. They were in an under-publicized auction over the weekend, but I did have to battle a little with another bidder to get them. The 525s are made with the same heft and sturdiness as the JH-515s. The non-original microsuede upholstery will have to go, and they will be recovered in black leather.

They'll be carrying me out of the house before these chairs.

- 14 Nov 2017

Nice acquisition cd. It always makes me happy when someone can find that piece they have pined after. You obviously have a number of things that you have poured research effort into, but I am sure they are all pleasing in their own way.

I am still waiting to come across my first collection-worthy Wegner piece (other than the J16, or wishbone, or round chair, or.....) for my collection. Dont get me wrong, I like my J16, but I am really looking to find some rare Wegner piece(s) in the wild.

Anyways this post deserves an up, especially during the night of the living Rosewood.

- 14 Nov 2017

There's no comedians here yet I find myself smiling an awful lot at particular lines. Maybe it's because they're things I wouldn't be able to read anywhere else, that intersect with this passion. Night of the living rosewood it is! Long may it live.

Anyway, they are stunning pieces. I too would like to manage to find a Wegner piece in the wild at some point. Unfortunately I just don't think I am knowledgeable enough yet. I haven't poured anywhere near enough time in to recognise important shapes in his designs; whether it's joints, weaving patterns or sculptural elements I don't have the knowledge on display here over these chairs. As usual, it's a real pleasure to read the back catalogue of this forum.

- 14 Nov 2017

Kyle, I don't know where you are in the UK but London has at least a couple of Carl Hansen retail stores with real Wegner furniture to see in person. If you can get there, that is. There's also the Danish Homestore in Nottingham for vintage, though of course their stock varies.

There's something about seeing this stuff in person. It's like a lightbulb goes off in your head--"ahh! So that's what it's about!" And then it'll start to jump out at you in photos, too.

I like the more plentiful Wegner pieces just as much as some of the rare ones. I'd love to have a Peacock chair someday but if it was between that and my J16...i dunno. Tough call.

- 14 Nov 2017

Kyle, my interest in the Wegner "coat hanger" rail chairs happened by accident as I was flipping through eBay 2 1/2 years ago. The more I looked into them, the more I started to appreciate the designs. Both the JH-515 and JH-525 listings were for generic Danish chairs, and they both fell below the radar to my range. If I had not become interested in the initial eBay listing, then I most likely would not have recognized the first JH-515 listing when I came across it.

This is one of the reasons why I pay attention to many of the ID posts here. Hidden gems tend to make themselves found easier when you are aware of them beforehand.

- 14 Nov 2017

I'm near London, and there's no shortage of shows to go to. I know there was one very locally to me in June I think, that I missed. Anyway, I do intend to at some point get a little more clued in. Do Carl Hansen sotres have vintage stock too? I just assumed it'd be all contemporary manufactured.

I do love that about design cdsilva, specific designs can be infectious if you understand what I mean. What starts as a passing appreciation can develop into fascination. That's definitely why I had to buy my Senator chair. I think sharing that appreciation on a forum can be externally infectious too! Now I really love these chairs - the new 4 are great but I still love your oxblood leather one.

- 22 Jan 2018

After acquiring four JH-525 arm chairs, why not get a JH-567 dining table to properly house them? This guy just arrived last Thursday; cleaned/oiled Friday and Saturday, just in time for dinner. The table came with three leaves, but just one will be installed for the regular setup.

My Erik Buck chairs will remain in the dining room until I get the 525s reupholstered.

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