Grete Jalk (1920)

Danish-born furniture designer, active Copenhagen. Jalk studied first at the School of Arts and Crafts, Copenhagen.


Later under Kaare Klint at the Danish Technical College and after apprenticing as a cabinetmaker, she opened a studio of her own in 1954, and began showing her work at the annual exhibitions of the Copenhagen Guild of Cabinetmakers. Along with her colleagues Finn Juhl and Hans Wegner, Jalk´s early work helped to propel Danish design to the cutting edge of international style.

Jalk´s pieces are often described as sculptural. Of all her work, the famed Plywood chair (1963), manufactured by Poul Jeppensen, best embodies this quality. It differs from any previous experiments with molded plywood by virtue of its sheer technical daring; despite being composed of two conjoined pieces, the effect is seamless and elegant. She also designed a well-known tubular steel chair for Fritz Hansen in 1964.

Jalk´s work as a furniture scholar is likewise noteworthy. Her 1987 book, The Art of Danish Furniture is an important contribution to the topic.

Her honors are many: In 1946, she won the prestigious prize of the Copenhagen Joiners' Guild, and the 1963 Daily Mail International Furniture Competition award. She exhibited at the 1951 Triennale di Milano, the 1968 "Two Centuries of Danish Design" exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, and in 1968 at the Museé des Arts Décoratifs, Paris.

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