Georg Arthur Jensen silverware designer and manufacturer

Georg Arthur Jensen was a Danish metalworker. He was born in Faavad. Jensen jewellery has always been of high quality and has never been cheap. However, it was made in large quantities and is not very rare. Jensen had stores in Brussels, Barcelona, Berlin, Copenhagen, Geneva, London, New York, and Paris, where he died in 1935.

Education

He was apprenticed as a goldsmith. c1895-1901, he studied sculpture, Det Kongelige Danske Kunstakademi, Copenhagen. 

Georg Jenson black and white image
Georg Jenson black and white image

Biography

He served his apprenticeship in Copenhagen for a time under Holm, becoming a journeyman in 1884. With Christian Joachim, he made ceramics in c1898 in the workshop of painter and designer Mogens Ballinn near Copenhagen.

Jensen worked in the potteries Alummia and Bing & Grøndahl Porcelaensfabrik, Copenhagen.

Designing jewellery

In 1904, he began designing jewellery and silverware and, in the same year, with one assistant, opened his small silversmithy. 

Brooch designed by Georg Jensen
Brooch designed by Georg Jensen

He disliked classical reproductions and wanted to make Modern designs a commercial success; his designs were influenced by nature. 

Fostered talent

Georg Jensen has worked with many famous artists, sculptors, and designers. These include the renowned silver designer Johan Rohde, with whom Jensen worked his whole life, Hennig Koppel, Kay Bojesen, and Sigvard Bernadotte. Jargen and Seiren Georg Jensen, two of Jensen’s sons, worked as designers at the smithy. Saren Georg, trained as a sculptor, took over the company’s creative direction after his father died. He has kept Georg Jensen’s creative reputation up by focusing a lot of his time on exploring the cylindrical shape of silver holloware.

A Georg Jenssen silver pyramid pattern comprehensive set of cutlery designed by Harold Nielsen.
A Georg Jenssen silver pyramid pattern comprehensive set of cutlery designed by Harold Nielsen.

Almost all of the original designs continue to be made by hand. Jensen also used stainless steel, originally a wartime substitute for silver. It gained popularity after the war, and Jensen’s postwar stainless-steel pieces were noteworthy. 

Fish dish, model no. 1054 manufactured (c. 1980) GEORG JENSEN SØLVSMEDIE, Copenhagen
Fish dish, model no. 1054 manufactured (c. 1980) GEORG JENSEN SØLVSMEDIE, Copenhagen

A showroom opened on New York’s Fifth Avenue by 1920. Its success was assured when William-Randolph Hearst bought the entire inventory at the 1915 San Francisco ‘Panama-Pacific International Exposition.’ International Silver in the USA copied the 1915 Acorn pattern by Rohde and Blossom motifs by Jensen himself. Finn Juhl executed glassware designs for the firm. After Jensen died, the firm’s management passed to his son Jergen Jensen. 

Exhibitions

His work was shown to acclaim in every major international exhibition of the applied arts in the first three decades of the 20th century, including;

Sources

Byars, M., & Riley, T. (2004). The design encyclopedia. Laurence King Publishing.

Miller, J., & Dawes, N. M. (2005). Art deco. DK.

Myerson, J., & Katz, S. (1990). Tableware. Conran octopus.

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