For more than a century Georg Jensen has been massively influential in Scandinavian design and synonymous with high quality Danish silversmithing. Drawing from traditional methods and infusing with progressive techniques, Georg Jensen pieces have remained at the forefront of Danish design throughout the 20th century.
Born on August the 31st, 1866, Georg Arthur Jensen was the eighth of nine children to a knife grinder and a housemaid in rural Raadvad. Growing up around forests and lakes, his core inspiration was nature. Jensen’s gift for creativity was obvious to his family and he began his training in goldsmithing with the firm Guldsmed Andersen when he was just 14 years old. Following his graduation in 1884, Georg pursued ambitions of becoming a sculptor by enrolling at the Royal Danish Art Academy in 1887. Studying under Theodor Stein (1829-1901) and later, post-graduation, with Joachim Petersen (1870-1943), his fine ceramic sculptures were well received. Sadly, by the late 1800s Jensen had become a widow with two young sons to support, he abandoned the craft in favour of a silversmith and designer position with the master, Mogens Ballin. Ballin nurtured Jensen’s talent and even allowed him to exhibit pieces under his own name.
By 1899 Jensen had completed his first silver belt buckle, Adam and Eve, which ultimately sparked his vision and gave him the courage to take a huge risk, opening his own small silver workshop in 1904. He initially focussed on jewellery and smaller items as the financial outlay was far less than it would have been for larger pieces or cutlery sets. Within months of opening, his work gained significant interest and the workshop began to grow.
In 1906, Johan Rohde approached his friend Georg with clay models that he wanted him to make in silver. Rohde was a painter who initially studied medicine, he found his way into the arts when he started designing furniture and other objects for his own home, to be produced by leading Danish artisans. Jensen appreciated his friends designs and this commission resulted in the first, potentially most important design collaboration for Georg Jensen, paving the way for future partnerships. One of Jensen’s most famous flatware patterns, Acorn, was designed by Rohde.
Over the years many talented artists joined Jensen to produce new designs and ideas, amongst them were Henning Koppel, Arne Jacobsen, Hans Christian Nielsen, Finn Juhl, Sigvard Bernadotte, Vivianna Torun Bülow-Hübe, Nanna Ditzel, Erik Magnussen, Patricia Urquiola, Marc Newson and Zaha Hadid. This tradition has continued throughout the years and still exists to this day.
Within 20 years of opening his workshop, Jensen had expanded internationally with shops in Berlin, London, and New York. Georg Jensen’s own works received acknowledgment as art during his lifetime, collected and exhibited by museums including the Danish Museum for Decorative Art and the Museum Folkwang.
Georg Jensen silverware features the use of innovative techniques such as oxidisation and hammered finishes, with organic ornamentation of fruits, leaves and blossoms. Each piece is created with impeccable craftsmanship and represents the iconic eras from where it came, Art Nouveau, Art Deco, and Functionalist movements.
Whilst Georg Jensen wares have always been admired and highly collectable, demand continues to grow, with many enthusiasts shifting their focus to specific designers, patterns, eras, or collections.
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