Kaare Klint (1888-1954)

Danish architect and furniture designer, born and active Copenhagen.

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Klint, whose work and ideas helped spark the Danish Modern movement, originally trained as a painter at the Polytechnic of Fredericksberg. In 1914, he enrolled in the Technical School of Copenhagen to study architecture under his father, the renowned P. V. Jensen Klint, and Carl Peterson, who at the time was designing fixtures and furnishings for the Faaborg Art Museum. Peterson invited Klint to collaborate with him on the project, and the result was a simple, graceful chair in oak and woven cane. Recalling eighteenth-century neoclassicism in form, yet strikingly modern in its simplicity, the chair drew widespread praise and today ranks among Klint´s most important designs.

Klint opened an office in 1920, and by 1924 had helped establish the Department of Furniture at Copenhagen´s Royal Academy of Art, where he also taught architecture. While never advocating literal reproduction, his design philosophy stressed a comprehensive knowledge of historical furniture.

The past, Klint believed ¬ó complemented by a thorough command of natural materials, ergonomics, and proportion ¬ó was the best source of inspiration for beautiful, functional furniture. His principles stood in direct opposition to those of his Bauhaus-trained colleagues, who, in stressing a machine aesthetic, shunned tradition entirely. Klint´s influential students ¬ó most notably Poul Kjaerholm and Borge Mogensen ¬ó went on to invent the Danish Modern style, which by mid-century had achieved massive and dominant popularity.

Today, Klint´s reputation rests primarily on his furniture. Rudolph Rasmussen, a small but renowned workshop, manufactured many of his designs; some of the best known include the Propeller Stool (1927), the Safari Chair (1933), and a high-back, three-seat settee (1935). Klint was made a Royal Designer for British Industry in 1949.

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