Chieftain Chair - The iconic chair by Finn Juhl | House of Finn Juhl

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The Chieftain Chair | Finn Juhl | 1949

The Chieftain Chair | Finn Juhl | 1949

The iconic Chieftain Chair is one of Finn Juhl’s absolute masterpieces, representing the peak of his career as a furniture designer. At its introduction in 1949, the chair marked a renewal of the Danish furniture design tradition. Today, it is perceived as one of the most important exponents of the Danish Modern movement in the US during the 1950s. The chair is available in walnut or oak with upholstery in selected, exclusive leather types.

Wood Type
Upholstery
Leather

Please note that the actual colours and materials may vary due to different screen balances and settings. While the version shown is supposed to be viewed only as an example, individual material photos can be found via our material page.

Product details

Design:

Finn Juhl

Year:

1949, relaunched in 2002

Materials:

Frame: Walnut or oak

Upholstery:

Leather

Model and Dimensions:

FJ 4900
W: 100 cm | D: 88 cm | H: 92.5 cm
Seat height: 34.5 cm.

The iconic Chieftain Chair is one of Finn Juhl’s absolute masterpieces, representing the peak of his career as a furniture designer. At its introduction in 1949, the chair marked a renewal of the Danish furniture design tradition. Today, it is perceived as one of the most important exponents of the Danish Modern movement in the US during the 1950s. The chair is available in walnut or oak with upholstery in selected, exclusive leather types.

Product details

Design:

Finn Juhl

Year:

1949, relaunched in 2002

Materials:

Frame: Walnut or oak

Upholstery:

Leather

Model and Dimensions:

FJ 4900
W: 100 cm | D: 88 cm | H: 92.5 cm
Seat height: 34.5 cm.

About the Chieftain Chair

The Chieftain Chair - An Icon Within Furniture

Today, the Chieftain Chair is perceived as one of the most important exponents of the Danish Modern movement in the US during the 1950s. For this reason, Finn Juhl is often considered the founding father of Danish Modern.

Inspired by modern art and foreign cultures, the Chieftain Chair with its organic shapes, liberated itself from traditional Danish furniture design and strict functionalism in both shape, construction and materials.

In 2012, the Chieftain Chair won the Danish Design Award, Classic. The jury said in its motivation: ”Today, the Chieftain Chair stands as an inspiration to a new generation of furniture designers and as proof that attention to quality, international calibre and a will to break away from tradition can pave the way to make a difference as a designer”.

The Chieftain Chair in walnut with 'Elegance' leather upholstery in the colour 'Walnut'.
The Chieftain Chair in walnut with 'Elegance' leather upholstery in the colour 'Black'.
Finn Juhl's original watercolour depicting the Chieftain Chair from 1949. Photo credit: Pernille Klemp, Designmuseum Danmark
An icon of Danish design

The Process
Behind the Chair

The Chieftain Chair is probably the most well-known piece of all of Finn Juhl’s chairs and a powerful design, which not only dominates in size and extravagance but also needs a lot of space around it to do itself justice. It is in true and proper fashion a chieftain. It has, with good reason, been called an icon of Danish furniture design.

Finn Juhl was however quite modest about the development process of the chair, and did not have any expectations of its greatness. Finn Juhl said:

“I started drawing the Chieftain Chair one day in the spring of 1949. I was at home, and I started drawing a small sketch around 10 AM with just four vertical lines connected with something. By two or three o’clock in the morning I had painted it. But in reality, I don’t know how long it took me to design that chair. Perhaps I had a vague idea for some time that I wanted to design something bigger. There had been so many small, handy chairs, so I probably felt like designing something a bit more pompous...”

The Chieftain Chair in walnut with 'Elegance' leather upholstery in the colour 'Black'.
The Chieftain Chair in walnut with 'Vegetal' leather upholstery in the colour '95'.
The Chieftain Chair in walnut with 'Vegetal' leather upholstery in the colour '95'.
The Chieftain Chair in walnut with 'Velvet' leather upholstery in the colour '505'.
" There had been so many small, handy chairs, so I probably felt like designing something a bit more pompous...” - Finn Juhl
The Chieftain Chair in oak (clear oil) with 'Vegetal' leather upholstery in the colour '90'. Sculpture: Anders Ruhwald / Gallery: Officine Saffi.
The Chieftain Chair in oak (clear oil) with 'Vegetal' leather upholstery in the colour '90'. Sculpture: Anders Ruhwald / Gallery: Officine Saffi.
The Chieftain Chair in walnut with 'Vacona' leather upholstery in the colour 'Cognac'.
The Chieftain Chair in walnut with 'Vacona' leather upholstery in the colour 'Cognac'.