Denmark 50

Fritz Henningsen


Nanna Ditzel
Fritz Henningsen  
Poul Henningsen  
Peter Hvidt  
Arne Jacobsen  
Grete Jalk  
Finn Juhl  
Jacob Kjaer  
Poul Kjaerholm  
Kaare Klint  
Borge Mogensen  
Verner Panton  
Arne Vodder  
Ole Wanscher  
Hans Wegner  

When compared to his more famous peers in Danish furniture design, Fritz Henningsen is a somewhat mysterious figure. Probably born at the end of the nineteenth century, he was known as both a proprietor of a furniture-making workshop in central Copenhagen, overseeing a team of cabinetmakers and apprentices, as well as the designer of the products of that workshop.

Henningsen’s work was greatly respected for its very high standards of craftsmanship. (Especially by his peers; Henningsen was an active member of the Cabinetmakers’ Guild from 1927 on.) As evidence of Henningsen’s insistence on quality, one notes how much of his output was in expensive and exotic woods, such as palisander and Cuban mahogany. Every piece with the Henningsen imprimatur is entirely hand-made, using exclusively the labor-intensive, traditional methods he inherited from the nineteenth century.

Apart from its superb quality, a Henningsen piece is notable for its elegance of line. The gorgeous curves he loved to flourish, especially in the arms of his fantastic chairs and sofas, at first glance appear to be early-twentieth-century modernism tempered by the historicism of an urbane but conservative craftsman. Henningsen was indeed a staunch traditionalist; for him, the graceful curves of his furniture were simply the result of the marriage of elegance and comfort.