How To Spot A Real Arne Jacobsen Egg Chair
The Mid Century Modern Egg chair was designed by Arne Jacobsen in 1958 for the SAS Royal Hotel (now named the Radisson) in Copenhagen, Denmark. It was originally made by the Republic of Fritz Hansen and was designed in classic Jacobsen style, with state-of-the-art material, and is still being manufactured down to this day by Fritz Hansen. The Egg Chair is believed to be inspired by Eero Saarinen's "Womb chair", from which it shares very similar traits. The Egg Chair is great because it guarantees a bit of privacy in otherwise public spaces, and is ideal for lounges and waiting areas as well as in the home. There are many mid century modern arm chairs that have similar traits to the Egg chair actually, such as the Swan chair, Arne Jacobsen's plywood "7" chair, the Ant Chair, the Cigar Chair, the Grand Prix-chair, the Pot Chair, the Drop Chair and the Giraffe Chair. Like the Swan Chair, Arne Jacobsen also designed the Egg Chair into a couch.
While the Swan Sofa is still in production, only a small amount of Egg sofas were ever made. A few quite interesting reasons for the limited production of the mid-century modern Egg couch is 1. the difficulty involved in manufacturing it, and 2. a big design flaw: the couch is too big to be covered by two complete cow-hides, which is actually barely possible even with the Egg-chair. This leaves a very obvious stitching down the center of the couch. This issue was solved by manufacturing the chair and sofa with fabric rather than leather, which is why you find a large amount of Egg Chairs in stunning orange, light blue, black, teal, green, and yellows.
Since its conception, there have been hundreds of different types of mid century modern egg chairs and hanging egg chairs inspired by Arne Jacobsen's design. The Egg chair was first conceived in Arne Jacobsen's garage, and was originally cast in plaster. Nowadays the synthetic shell is padded with foam and covered with fabric or various leather products, resting on a star-shaped aluminium base.
How To Tell An Authentic Egg Chair Vs. Egg Chair Reproduction
The first step in telling the difference between authentic mid-century modern furniture and mid century modern reproductions is to look for a makers mark or label. Looking for a label on an Egg Chair can help you determine if it is an original, and also figure out what year the egg chair was made. Newer pieces will have a Republic of Fritz Hansen label attached to the fabric. From 2006 through 2010, a red tag was used. Pieces made after 2010 will have a brown tag. If the chair was made prior to 2006 you'll have to look to the base for a tag or mark. There might be a sticker on the cylinder that attaches the top to the base, saying "Made in Denmark by Fritz Hansen", it will also have a date indicating when the chair was produced. The look of the labels changed slightly over the years, but the information included is essentially the same. First edition chairs made in the late 1950s can have a FH Made in Denmark stamp directly onto the leather as well. It's possible the Egg Chair you are checking on is an authentic while not having a sticker or tag (both could have been removed or damaged over the years) if you find that there are no stickers or labels present, look on the very bottom for a raised serial number, the FH logo, and "Made in Denmark" molded directly into the metal.
Another way at checking a vintage egg chair against a egg chair knock off is to check the way it's made. Check out the stitching, material used, and size. The level of craftsmanship on an original Arne Jacobsen Egg Chair will be top notch. An original chair manufactured Fritz Hansen will have a distinctive way it's stitched together, almost like a wave pattern. Interesting fact actually the stitching on both the Egg Chair and the Swan Chair is they are both done entirely by hand. Egg Chair Reproductions made by other companies are not usually stitched as evenly, and some have a tuck and roll seam, a method where a small roll of fabric is visible between the layers of a seam.
You might notice that the upholstery sticks up a bit at the seams rather than laying smoothly. The fabric should also be taught and smooth on a newer Egg Chair, as in there shouldn't be any excess if you try to grab a bit of upholstery between your fingers anywhere on the chair. Exceptions to the fabric and stitching test are possible if the chair has been reupholstered at a later date so don't use any one method when testing the authenticity of a chair. In older chairs made of leather, however, the material can stretch a bit with heavy use, so it can still be original even with a few loose spots.Additionally, leather chairs will be made using only two large pieces of premium hide wrapping the chair. A seam down the back is an indicator that your leather Egg Chair is not an original.
The dimensions of a reproduction chair are usually different from an authentic. An original Egg Chair designed by Jacobsen, comes in at 43 inches high, just about 34 inches wide and bang on 31 inches in depth. The base of an authentic Arne Jacobsen Egg Chair will also have 4 prongs, any more or less and its a reproduction. If you give an authentic Arne Jacobsen Chair a spin it should have a very smooth spin to it. Most Egg Chair fakes will have a choppy awkward spin to them when you turn the actual chair.
How Much Is An Egg Chair Worth?
Whether new or old, an authentic Fritz Hansen Egg Chair is quite expensive. A new leather Egg Chair with footstool made by Fritz Hansen can be more then $20,000 when bought from a authorized dealer. The same setup in fabric can be over $10,000. Vintage and used versions can obviously be found for less, but older authentic egg chairs still sell in the thousands through dealers. My recommendation is find out how much your local Mid Century Modern stores and dealers in your area sell them for, that way you'll know what a good entry point is if you find one through conventional picker means like Craigslist, Garage Sale, Flea Market, Etc.
We hope this article will help you the next time you come across an Egg Chair. If you'd like to be notified the next time we put out an article please scroll to the bottom of this page and hit subscribe.
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