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Scandinavian Modern Folk Art

SCANDINAVIAN MODERN STYLE

The designers of Scandinavian modernism created the warmest and most human iteration of modernist ideals. Their work was founded on centuries-old beliefs in both quality craftsmanship and the ideal that beauty should enhance even the humblest accessories of daily life. The gentle, organic contours that are typical of vintage Scandinavian modern furniture appear in the work of Danish, Finnish and Swedish designers not as a stylistic gesture, but rather as a practical, ergonomic — and, as importantly, elegant — response to the human form.

Each nation produced exceptional talents in all areas of the applied arts, yet each had its forté. Sweden was home to Bruno Mathsson, creator of the classic Grasshopper chair, but the country excelled most notably at ceramics. In the ’20s at the great Gustavsberg porcelain manufactory, Wilhelm Kåge introduced Scandinavian modern pieces based on influences from folklore to Cubism; his skills were passed on to his versatile and inspired pupils Berndt Friberg and Stig Lindberg.

Likewise, Finland produced a truly ingenious Scandinavian modern furniture designer in the architect Alvar Aalto, a master at melding function and artistic form in works like the Paimio chair. Yet Finnish glassware was pre-eminent, crafted in expressive, sculptural designs by Tapio Wirkkala and Timo Sarapaneva.

The Danes excelled at chairs. Hans Wegner and Arne Jacobsen were exemplars of the country’s facility with wood, particularly teak. Wegner created such iconic pieces as the Round chair and the Wishbone chair; Jacobsen — while he produced the best-selling plywood Ant chair — designed two classic upholstered pieces of the 1950s: the Swan chair and Egg chair. The list of great Danes could go on and on, including Finn Juhl, maker of the bold Chieftain chair; Poul Kjaerholm, with his lean metal-and-rattan aesthetic; and Vernor Panton, who introduced a vibrant Pop note into international design.

On 1stDibs, you will note both instantly recognizable Scandinavian modern designs — those that have earned iconic status over time — and many new discoveries. Even more than 50 years on from their heyday, the prolific, ever-evolving Scandinavian modernists continue to amaze and delight.

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Modernist Urban Motif from 1956 of Copenhagen by Svend Aage Tauscher
Located in Copenhagen, DK
Svend Aage Tauscher (1911-1984), Danish artist. Oil on board. Modernist urban motif of Copenhagen. Dated 1956. The canvas measures: 100 x 85 cm. Signed SAAT 56 In very good condit...
Category

1950s Danish Vintage Scandinavian Modern Folk Art

Materials

Canvas

Kay Bojesen, Denmark, Four Wooden Birds, Danish Design, 20th-21st Century
Located in Copenhagen, Denmark
Kay Bojesen, Denmark. Four wooden birds. Danish design, 20th-21st century. Largest measures: 9 x 9 cm. Stamped. In perfect condition.
Category

Late 20th Century Danish Scandinavian Modern Folk Art

Materials

Wood

Birger Kaipiainen, Arabia Finland Hanging Art Platter with Decoration, 1950s
Located in Copenhagen, DK
Spectacular Royal blue "Florence" Fine art wall plate by acclaimed Finnish ceramic artist Birger Kaipiainen (1915-1988) for Arabia Finland. Designed and manufactured in the 1950s. Re...
Category

Mid-20th Century Finnish Scandinavian Modern Folk Art

Materials

Ceramic, Earthenware, Faience

Kay Bojesen, Denmark, Wooden Horse, Danish Design, 20th-21st Century
Located in Copenhagen, Denmark
Kay Bojesen, Denmark. Wooden horse. Danish design, 20th/21st century. Measures: 14.5 x 14 cm. Stamped. In perfect condition.  
Category

Late 20th Century Danish Scandinavian Modern Folk Art

Materials

Wood

Pair of Vintage Hand-Carved Wooden and Metal Horse Sculptures, circa 1980s
Located in Landau an der Isar, Bayern
Wooden horse sculptures - probably Scandinavian in origin and made circa 1980s. Featuring bodies, beautifully shaped and hand-carved with legs, heads and tails all made of forged bla...
Category

1980s Scandinavian Vintage Scandinavian Modern Folk Art

Materials

Metal

Lovely Black Wooden Sculpture, Johnny Mattsson, Sweden
Located in Stockholm, SE
A lovely wooden sculpture designed by the famous wooden sculptor Johnny Mattsson in Gävle, Sweden in the midcentury. It is in very good condition except from that one of its legs is ...
Category

Mid-20th Century Swedish Scandinavian Modern Folk Art

Materials

Wood

Antique Scandinavian Rocking Chair
Located in Hingham, MA
Remarkably original artisanal handcrafted rocking chair from Sweden circa 1840-1850. Stained birch wood. Entirely handmade. All joints are pegged and doweled. Splats and rails were s...
Category

1840s Swedish Antique Scandinavian Modern Folk Art

Materials

Birch

Annikki Hovisaari Signed Arabia Finland Scandinavian Modern Studio Pottery Vase
Located in Studio City, CA
A wonderful Scandanavian glazed stoneware pottery footed vase by Annikki Hovisaari for Arabia Finland. This piece features a sea-like turquoise/ blue glaze and gourd-like shape. ...
Category

1960s Finnish Vintage Scandinavian Modern Folk Art

Materials

Stoneware

Red-Toned Wooden Sculpture, Swedish Mid Century
Located in Stockholm, SE
A lovely wooden sculpture designed in Sweden in the midcentury. It is in very good condition except from that one of its legs is repaired. The designer is unknown.
Category

Mid-20th Century Swedish Scandinavian Modern Folk Art

Materials

Stoneware

Arne Tjomsland Teak Bear Cub Vintage Midcentury 1950s Figure Sculpture, Norway
Located in Hyattsville, MD
Arne Tjomsland was Norways leading souvenir designer in the 1950s and 1960s. Arne Tjomsland's artistic style is characterized by soft structural lines and minimal detailing on his cr...
Category

1950s Norwegian Vintage Scandinavian Modern Folk Art

Materials

Teak

Throw Designed by Simon Key Bertman, Sweden, 2010s
Located in Stockholm, SE
Throw designed by Simon Key Bertman, Sweden, 2000s Pure new wool. Prototype. Measures: L 180 cm/ 5'11” W 130 cm/ 4'3”.        
Category

2010s Swedish Scandinavian Modern Folk Art

Materials

Wool

Kay Bojesen, Denmark, Wooden Dog, Danish Design, 20th-21st Century
Located in Copenhagen, Denmark
Kay Bojesen, Denmark. Wooden dog. Danish design, 20th-21st century. Measures: 8 x 7.5 cm. Stamped. In perfect condition.
Category

Late 20th Century Danish Scandinavian Modern Folk Art

Materials

Wood

Kay Bojesen, Denmark, Black Wooden Bird, Danish Design, 20th-21st Century
Located in Copenhagen, Denmark
Kay Bojesen, Denmark. Black wooden bird. Danish design, 20th-21st century. Measures: 15.5 x 15.5 cm. Stamped. In perfect condition.    
Category

Late 20th Century Danish Scandinavian Modern Folk Art

Materials

Wood

Scandinavian Modern Sculpture Signed by Ulrica Hydman-Vallien
Located in Stockholm, SE
Ulrica Hydman-Vallien can certainly not be accused of being ordinary. Her design has had its own style ever since the beginning of her artistic career. Already when Ulrica was 17 yea...
Category

1970s Swedish Vintage Scandinavian Modern Folk Art

Materials

Ceramic

Kay Bojesen Denmark, Hand Painted Wooden Zebra, Danish Design, 20th-21st Century
Located in Copenhagen, Denmark
Kay Bojesen, Denmark. Hand painted wooden zebra. Danish design, 20th-21st century. Measures: 15 x 14 cm. Stamped. In perfect condition.   
Category

Late 20th Century Danish Scandinavian Modern Folk Art

Materials

Wood

Vintage Rare Scandinavian Craft Geometric Trivets by Kaija Aarikka
Located in Hyattsville, MD
Large 11 1/4 x 6 in. Medium 7 1/4 x 7 1/4 in. Small 5 3/8 x 5 3/8 in. An ingenious and unusual wooden and metal wire rod trivet from the Finnish designer Kaija Aarikka. The Aarikk...
Category

1950s Finnish Vintage Scandinavian Modern Folk Art

Materials

Steel

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Kay Bojesen, Denmark, Elephant in Oak, Danish Design, 20th-21st Century
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