Mid Century Makers: Hans J. Wegner
As a small, independent retailer of Scandinavian and mid century furniture, it’s difficult to know where to start with a piece on Wegner.
You’d only have to Google his name to see that so many of the big players in our field have already put together their own bio on the man.
Most of these articles are also pretty comprehensive.
What is more, the likes of Carl Hansen & Sons still produce his designs.
(If you want to be really nerdy about it, you should know that they actually changed their logo to one Wegner designed to commemorate the centenary of his birth.)
That makes it very difficult for us to compete on a topic such as this.
However, it is also true that no decent mid century furniture resource would be complete without some mention of the man.
You see, Hans Jorgensen Wegner is probably the biggest name in Danish Modern furniture design.
In fact, he might even be the biggest name in furniture design full stop.
And if ever proof were needed of just how highly his stock is valued, the story we found about a shipment of counterfeit Wegner designs being destroyed by Norwegian customs authorities upon entry into Scandinavia probably tells you everything you need to know.
So, without further ado, let’s get on with our quick-fire look at the life of this titan of craftsmanship.
Where to Buy Hans Wegner Furniture
You’re pretty much guaranteed to be getting a high-quality piece when you shop with any of these retailers.
Just don’t expect to stumble across a bargain.
You might also enjoy some luck on eBay but be wary of fakes. They’re out there.
We always try to source and stock Wegner pieces. We also always try to keep our prices reasonable and only sell items we can be certain are genuine so do visit our Hans Wegner collection to see what we have in our inventory.
Where was Hans J Wegner From?
Wegner was born in Tønder, Denmark in 1914.
He spent most of his academic and professional live in his homeland.
Wegner passed away in 2007 aged 92.
What did Hans Wegner do?
Created over 1,000 pieces of furniture for one. Around 500 of them were chairs, which is probably what he is most famous for.
If trivia is your thing, you should know that the first of these chairs was created when he was just 15 years of age.
That probably goes some way to contextualise what might be the most quotable Wegner line: “The chair does not exist. The good chair is a task one is never completely done with.”
Wegner is also credited with being the driving force behind Danish Modern furniture.
He always worked with the highest quality materials, usually wood, and produced furniture that focussed, much like his Danish Modern contemporaries, on functionality.
Or as he put it: “Many foreigners have asked me how we made the Danish style. And I've answered that it...was rather a continuous process of purification, and for me of simplification, to cut down to the simplest possible elements of four legs, a seat and combined top rail and arm rest.”
To put it another way, what you see when you hear the phrase Danish furniture is probably a Wegner design.
Where was Hans Wegner furniture made?
Most of it was manufactured in Denmark, which is good news for buyers and sellers alike as a “Made in Denmark” stamp is as good as a seal of approval.
Here, Wegner differs from some of his contemporaries like Børge Mogensen, whose designs were also made in Sweden.
That is not to say those pieces are of any less worth. That would be a lie.
What is Hans Wegner Furniture Made From?
Wegner loved to work with wood and most commentators agree that this affinity began during his apprenticeship in cabinetmaking when he was just 17 years old.
Long story short, expect to see a lot of teak and oak.
He also had an affinity for rattan/ Danish paperchord.
Some of his later designs also featured metal legs so don’t rule something out because it’s not made of wood.
How to Identify Wegner Furniture
This one depends on the manufacturer.
The Getama pieces we have encountered have all been labelled with both the designer and the maker’s mark.
Other manufacturers may only use their own stamp on the item.
Good news is, however, that you should be able to identify a Wegner design with the help of some web-based research and through the quality of the finish.
The man was famous for the creating exquisite joints, sumptuous curves and for respecting the natural characteristics of wood.
If any of that is missing, don’t waste your time or money.
What is Hans Wegner Most Famous For?
Being the driving force behind the rise of Danish Modern furniture.
When you look through its history, you get the impression that he was the man people wanted to work with and he was the man with the ruthless drive to keep redefining what it meant to be creating Danish furniture.
What’s Hans Wegner's Most Famous Design?
There are so many directions you could turn to for an answer here, but for us it has to be the design that is often referred to simply as “The Chair”.
“The Chair” or the “Round One” as it is also known, featured in the first televised Presidential debate between Nixon and Kennedy in 1960.
It made Danish design a headline act.
The Chinese Chair and the Peacock Chair are also worth an honourable mention.
Like we say, there are plenty of other designs that do too.
Is Hans Wegner Furniture Valuable?
Yes, yes, and more yes.
This applies to almost every design in his catalogue, though there will always be some designs that fetch more than others.
Sadly, this is only really good news for sellers.
However, buyers who can afford to make the stretch can do so knowing that there will forever be value in owning Wegner furniture.
How to Care for Your Hans Wegner Furniture
A coat of Danish oil or our very own beeswax every six months will go a long way to ensuring that the wood retains its natural lustre.
Upholstery work should always be carried out by a professional.
Similarly, any rattan repairs are likely to need a skilled hand. It’s probably not worth trying to fix it on your own.