About The Artist
Perfectly synthesizing principles of aesthetics and ergonomics, Poul Kjærholm’s singular mid-century Danish Modern furniture designs are at once timeless and radically innovative years after their creation. Kjærholm’s minimalist designs are celebrated for integrating and reinterpreting the language of geometric abstraction without compromising industrial functionality. This is in part due to Kjærholm's unique approach to his craft, where material dictates both form and function. "I am trying to express the very language of the materials themselves," he once conceded. “The important thing is to express the personality of the material-not mine.”
Kjærholm, who was drawn to woodworking at an early age, apprenticed as a cabinetmaker with master craftsman, Thorvald Grønbeck before turning to furniture design while studying in the 1950s under master Danish Modern industrial designers Hans J. Wegner, Jørn Utzon and Palle Suenson at the Kunsthåndværkerskolen (School of Arts and Crafts) in Copenhagen. Finding inspiration in work created by American designers Charles and Ray Eames and the German Bauhaus movement, as well as in the work of Dutch artists associated with the De Stijl group, such as Piet Mondrian and Gerrit Rietveld, Kjærholm’s designs draw on and respect the rich traditions of Danish furniture craftsmanship, while integrating modern materials, such as steel and leather, to ultimately reimagine standard, staple forms. “Steel’s constructive potential is not the only thing that interests me; the refraction of light on its surface is an important part of my artistic work,” he once noted. “I consider steel a material with the same artistic merit as wood and leather.”
Kjærholm’s work has won several awards, including two Grand Prix at the Milan Triennale in 1957 and 1960, the Lunning Award in 1958 (for the PK22 chair), and the Danish ID Award in 1973. His work is featured in the permanent collections of museums across the globe, including those of the Museum of Modern Art in New York and at the V&A Museum in London, and was featured in the 1958 “Formes Scandinaves” exhibition in Paris. In 2004 a clutch of Kjærholm's designs were selected to furnish the newly built Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York.
Kjærholm, Poul. Kjærholm Production, www.kjaerholmproduction.dk/Default.aspx?ID=19. Accessed 5 July 2017.
Kjærholm, Poul. Republic of Fritz Hansen, www.fritzhansen.com/en/designers/poul-kjaerholm. Accessed 5 July 2017.
Kjærholm, Poul. Mid-Century Online, www.mid-centuryonline.com/blog/poul-kjaerholm-focus-and-functionality. Accessed 5 July 2017.