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GEORG JENSEN: a silversmith from Denmark
Born in 1866, the son of a knife grinder in the town of Raadvad just to
the north of Copenhagen.
Jensen began his training in goldsmithing at the age of 14 in
Copenhagen. His apprenticeship, with the firm Guldsmet Andersen, ended
in 1884 and this freed young Georg to follow his artistic yearnings.
From childhood he had longed to be a sculptor and now pursued this
course of study at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts.
He graduated in 1892 and began exhibiting his work. Although his clay
sculpture was well received, making a living as a fine artist proved
difficult and he turned his hand to the applied arts. First as a
modeller at the Bing & Grondahl porcelain factory and, beginning in
1898, with a small pottery workshop he founded in partnership with
Again the work was well received, but sales were not strong enough to
support Jensen, by this point a widower, and his two small sons.
In 1901, he abandoned ceramics and began again as a silversmith and
designer with the master, Mogens Ballin. This led Jensen to make a
landmark decision, when in 1904, he risked what small capital he had and
opened his own little silversmithy at 34 Bredegade in Copenhagen.
Jensen's training in metalsmithing along with his education in the fine
arts allowed him to combine the two disciplines and revivify the
tradition of the artist craftsman.
Soon, the beauty and fine quality of his Art Nouveau creations caught
the eye of the public and his success was assured. The Copenhagen
quarters were greatly expanded and before the close of the 1920's,
Jensen had opened retail outlets as far ranging as New York, London,
Paris, Stockholm, Berlin and Buenos Aires.
1 • used 1904 ~ 1908
2 • used 1909 ~ 1914
3 • circa 1910 ~ 1925
4 • used 1915 ~ 1930
5 • used 1915 ~ 1927 (raised lettering)
6 • used 1925 ~ 1932
7 • used 1933 ~ 1944
8 • used 1945 ~ 1951 on items retailed in Copenhagen
9 • used 1945 ~ present (intaglio lettering)
Georg Jensen died in 1935, but in the preceding years he imbued the
firm with his strongly held ideals concerning both artistry in design
and excellence in craftmanship, this tradition has been adhered to
throughout the 20th century.
Although Jensen himself was a proponent of the Art Nouveau style, he had
the wisdom and foresight to allow his designers their own freedom of
expression which expanded the stylistic scope of what the firm produced
and allowed it to keep step with time.
On occasion, designer's marks are found along side the Jensen maker'
mark. Some of the firm's more notable designers include:
Johan Rohde (1856-1935)
Just Andersen (1884-1943)
Gundolph Albertus (1887-1970)
Harald Nielsen (1892-1977)
Arno Malinowski (1899-1976)
Sigvard Bernadotte (1907-2002)
Henning Koppel (1918-1981)
Bent Gabrielsen (b.1918)
Nanna & Jorgen Ditzel (JD - d.1961)
Nanna Ditzel (b.1923)
Vivianna Torun Bulow-Hube (1927-2004)
George Jensen Silversmithy, 77 Artists, 75 Years - Erik Lassen,
Smithsonian Institution, 1980
George Jensen, Silver & Design - Thomas C. Thulstrup, Gads Forlag 2004
Dansk Smykker / Danish Jewelry - Jacob Thage, Komma & Clausen 1990