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Johan Rohde hailed from a wealthy family and studied medicine prior to enrolling in the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in 1882. A forward-thinking, anti-establishment artist, he left after less than a year, disillusioned by their refusal to accept modern trends. In 1890, after several years of disappointment and the mainstream Charlottenborg Exhibition’s refusal to accept his paintings, he and several other artists established Den Frie Udstilling (The Free Exhibition) where artists could exhibit refused works. Rohde possessed a tireless creative mind and, in addition to painting and drawing, was also a lithographer, graphic artist, bookbinder, and designer. He embraced the Scandinavian design movement which, similar to the Arts & Crafts movement in America, encouraged the application of artistic sensibility to everyday objects.
Rohde designed furniture and silverware for his own home, which led him to commission Georg Jensen to execute one of his hollowware designs. The collaboration was so successful that they continued working together, with Rohde designing and Jensen executing the pieces. Rohde remained a designer at Jensen’s company for years and is responsible for many of their most famous flatware patterns, such as Acorn, which remains in production at Georg Jensen to this day. His designs favored form and line over ornament; timeless and elegant, they remain highly desirable to discerning design and silver collectors today. Rohde was awarded the Thorvaldsen Medal in 1934 from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine arts, its highest distinction, and he left an indelible and distinguished mark on the history of Danish art and craftsmanship.