HANS JORGEN WEGNER (1914 – 2007)
Hans Jorgen Wegner was born as the son of a shoemaker in the former German city of Tondern (since 1920 Tondern is Danish) on April 2, 1914. Many still consider Hans Wegner to be the master of chairs; especially wooden chairs.
At the age of 17 Hans Wegner finished his apprenticeship as a carpenter. Three years later Hans Wegner went to Copenhagen to study arts and crafts at the “School of Arts and Crafts“ from 1936 to 1938. Afterwards Hans Wegner worked as an architect and furniture designer.
In 1940, Hans Wegner met the architect Arne Jacobsen and designed furniture for his project, the town hall of Arhus. In the same year Hans Wegner contacted one of the leading master carpenters in Denmark, “Johannes Hansen”, who, at that time, put many new furniture designs on the market.
The designs of Hans Wegner also became famous quite quickly. In 1942, only two years later, the Copenhagen Museum of Industrial Art bought its first Hans Wegner chair for its permanent exhibition. Today it is quite hard to find a design museum that does not have a Hans Wegner chair. Wegner is present everywhere – from the New York Museum of Modern Art to the “Neue Sammlung” (new collection) in Munich.
Hans Wegner’s chairs are dominated by a simple elegance and objectivity. At first sight they seem to be functional utility furniture but at second glance they are absolute design classics. However, sometimes Hans Wegner also showed a completely different side: for example the “OX Chair”, a lounge chair with leather upholstery and a tubular steel frame, which still can’t be compared to anything. The often copied “Y-Chair” from 1950 is and will always be the most famous Chair by Hans Wegner. Less copied but not less famous is Wegner’s „Round Chair“, on which John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon sat during a heated debate on television in 1961.
At the great age of 92, Hans Wegner died in Copenhagen in January 2007.