Niels Vodder - Chairs and Furniture
Niels Vodder
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Niels Vodder

Denmark

Niels Vodder (1918-?), like many other Danish cabinetmakers of his time, exhibited his work almost every year at the Copenhagen Guild Exhibitions alongside the name of the designer with whom he collaborated. In many cases it was the designer, rather than the artisan, who could claim the body of work and go on to become an international name. For Vodder, the partner was Finn Juhl. For years he materialized Juhl's innovative designs, and while he never gained recognition for the designs themselves, Vodder is mentioned often alongside Juhl as his pioneering craftsman.

Vodder was formally trained as a cabinetmaker and worked extensively with wood, developing new methods for curving and joining the pieces as well as innovative ways to develop and articulate the relationship between the frame and the upholstered parts. His hallmark designs were formally elegant and modest in structure. A 1947 dining room set for the Cabinetmaker's show, for instance, was executed in teak and cherry with very simple chairs decorated by the alternating tones of the wood. In 1948, Vodder and Juhl created a "Study for an Art Collector," which was referred to by exhibition critic Svend Erik Møller as, "a terribly far-fetched name for this nice room." The set created a long, low table that could ostensibly be used by several people at once as a footstool. A 1949 curved coffee table and couch that they collaborated on was said to be, "as expensive and as delicate as a thorough bred must be."