Poul Kjærholm

A biography

Poul Kjærholm (1929-1980) designed modern functionalist furniture that was praised for its understated elegance and clean lines. He studied at the School of Arts and Crafts in Copenhagen where he would later teach. He was also lecturer and professor in the furniture and interior design department at the Academy of Art from 1957-76. Although he was formally trained as a cabinetmaker, Kjærholm was a strong proponent for industrial production, and his work stands out among that of his Danish contemporaries because of his extensive use of steel frames rather than the traditional wood. He did, however, design many of his seats in natural materials like cane, canvas, leather and rope. Over the years he designed dozens of chairs, lounge chairs, and tables that became landmarks for Danish furniture design, including the famous PK22 chair and the PK 24 lounge chair.

His designs are in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the V&A Museum in London and other museum collections in Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Germany. His numerous awards include two Grand Prix at the Milan Trienale (1957 & 1960), the ID Award and the legendary Lunning Award (1958). The Mobilia Press wrote of him, “when Poul Kjærholm’s furniture is evaluated today, it is not by virtue of its quantity, but of its supremacy.” In 2006, he was the subject of a major retrospective at the Louisiana Museum of Art in Denmark.

Sean Kelly and R & Company are pleased to announce their exclusive representation of the Poul Kjærholm Estate. The two galleries presented joint exhibitions of Kjærholm’s work in 2004 and 2007. The December 2007 exhibition showcased a selection of the designer’s rare original pieces alongside a new limited edition of Kjærholm’s designs that were never put into mass production. The exhibition was accompanied by the first catalogue raisonné on Kjærholm, written by Michael Sheridan, an architect and the leading authority of Kjærholm’s work.