Per Kirkeby wasn’t very interested in becoming famous. He was brilliant, yes, but the idea of any sort of attention tended to send a shiver up his spine. He proved the point in 1999, when he responded rather tartly to a question about his latest work, Untitled.
“I’m a painter and I've painted a painting,” he said. “And really, I don’t want to say anything more about it.”
And yet, the beauty of art is that we don’t get to choose how it is received. Or even really by whom. And so it is that in 2022 his archives are being revisited once more, as part of on ongoing journey through colour by Ilse Crawford and Carl Hansen.
“We wanted to develop a range of colours that reflect the times we live in,” explains all-star designer Ilse Crawford.
While she's not the first designer to try and translate the Zeitgeist, she is the first to do it with any semblance of sensitivity.
Her research eventually led to the works of Per Kirkeby; another Great Dane for whom lush, teeming oil canvases were a way to celebrate all that is living.
Whittling down the number of hues would prove challenging, however. After all, how does one choose between the earth of the soil, the green of the forest or the blue of the sky? Unwilling to play favourites, they decided to drop a new Wishbone hue every month, starting with two particuarly peppy shades entitled Pewter and Hollyhock.
"These are not standard colours governed by the trends of the time, but colours that add depth and complexity to any interior."
Like any good palette, the colours can be mixed and matched with ease, or used individually to add piquancy to any dining setting. In true Crawford fashion, they also promise to tread lightly on the Earth, thanks to the decision to use environmentally-friendly, water-based paint.
And while it's become somewhat of a tradition at Carl Hansen & Son to celebrate Hans' birthday with a limited edition, this year feels different. For at a time when it’s easy to be swept up in fancy of the Metaverse or in Pantone’s Veri Peri, these chairs locate beauty in the here and now. In the power of simple ideas and honest craftsmanship. And in the natural treasures that are all around.