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March 30, 2010

Object Lesson

Arne Jacobsen Egg chairs and ottomans

OBJECTS A pair of Arne Jacobsen Egg chairs with ottomans, produced in 1959 and reupholstered in 2001.

PROVENANCE The sets are from a trio upholstered by furrier Berger Christensen, with the permission of the Jacobsen estate, to mark the centennial of the designer's birth, in 1902. They also capture the current design obsession with all things Scandinavian. The Nordic-obsessed boutique Clearly First in Manhattan acquired them in April 2001. (The third set remains at Christensen's Copenhagen headquarters.)

DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERISTICS Instead of the original leather or fabric, these sets are covered in light-beige shearling and dark-brown sheared nutria. "Jacobsen is considered the father of Danish modernism," says Beth Vilinsky, specialist in 20th-century decorative arts at Christie's. "Many of his designs are timeless, and the Egg chair is an iconic form." Original Egg chairs are selling for $5,000 to $7,000 at auction, she says, adding that these sets, while "a lovely tribute," would probably not fetch a significant sum at auction because they've been altered. Still, says Clearly First's general manager, Patricia Austin, for lovers of Jacobsen's work they are "unique in the world, never to be duplicated or reproduced"—and a luxe alternative to the standard versions.

PRICE $31,500 in nutria, $34,500 in shearling.

Clearly First, 980 Madison Ave., New York; 212-988-8242; fax 212-988-8243; www.clearlyfirst.com.